Alex Hassan realizes childhood dream with Red Sox callup to Fenway Park

May 30, 2014 - 2:21 pm
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There were plenty of pieces of evidence that suggested that Alex Hassan would never make the big leagues. Hassan, a Milton native, was from the Northeast, an area that inherently prevents players from training as much as others in Florida or the West, where the sun shines year-round. Hassan was drafted in the 20th round in 2009 as a pitcher by the Red Sox, but was signed as an outfielder after the team was impressed enough by his offensive approach the Cape League. Hassan is also on the older end of prospects at the age of 26. Hassan himself sometimes wondered whether or not making it all the way to the majors was a feasible goal. "It always felt like a long shot because developmentally a little behind as far as game reps than some other guys were around the country in warmer climates," Hassan said. "I guess I always felt like an underdog. I had to overcome just not playing as many [games] as some other guys so that's a huge part of who I am, just kind of persevering along the way." But after spending parts of the last three years in Triple-A Pawtucket, Hassan will sit in the Red Sox dugout at Fenway Park on Friday, ready to make his major league debut should manager John Farrell call his name. While many think about making it to the majors as a kid, Hassan's childhood dreams are unfolding moment by moment to a tee. Hassan, who played baseball at Boston College High School, remembers coming to Fenway Park as a kid five or six times a summer with his family. Hassan, who has hit .217/.318/.303 in Pawtucket this year, was speechless when he heard the news Friday morning that he was getting the call to Boston. "It's not like this was part of my dream. This was literally my dream," Hassan said. "It's hard to put into words at this point, but I'm really excited to be here. I can't really put it into words right now." Growing up, Hassan said he admired players like Jose Offerman, Troy O'Leary and Mike Greenwell. While they weren't the typical players that captured the imaginations of New Englanders, the 26-year-old admired the way that they were simply good baseball players. "A lot of guys gravitate towards the superstars, but those guys were good baseball players," Hassan said. "When I came to the games, I liked watching them take [batting practice] and just guys I enjoyed watching. Obviously, [Nomar Garciaparra] is awesome, [Pedro Martinez] was amazing, but it was fun to appreciate some guys that were really good baseball players." The Red Sox called upon Hassan's services based on their need for another right-handed bat after Ryan Lavarnway broke his left hamate bone during Thursday night's game. One of the major factor's that contributed to Hassan getting his call was his ability to play first base, a position he adopted in 2013. "Last year, it was really a crash course because I didn't have spring training to get ready so it was more during the season, all right, you're going to be playing first and it was kind of like learning on the fly," Hassan said. "To have a spring training where I played more on the minor league side and I got more games, but I got a lot more reps with the major league staff so I feel like this season, I have more of a foundation coming into the season than I did last year so I feel more comfortable this season." Hassan does not not know how many of family members and friends, aside from his parents and girlfriend, will be in attendance Friday. Right now, he is just taking the experience in. "Certainly a lot went into it and in the moment," Hassan said. "It's tough to sum up, but I'm really happy."

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