Mookie Betts on D&C: 'I wasn't really expecting to get a call this year'

July 01, 2014 - 6:58 am

Recent Red Sox call-up Mookie Betts joined Dennis & Callahan to discuss his major league debut. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. Betts has played in two big league games since making his Red Sox debut Sunday night against the Yankees. He has a hit, scored a run and walked in six big league at-bats. He said he hasn't noticed any major differences compared to the minor leagues so far. "The only differences, you have better stadiums, better lighting and obviously you have a little better pitching," Betts said. "But it's pretty much all the same as far as the game. It's still 90 feet, still have to throw across the plate. I thought it was going to be this big, huge difference and it's really not." Betts got the call-up after just 23 games with Triple-A Pawtucket. After starting the year in Double-A Portland, Betts said he wasn't even expecting to make it to the majors this season. "I didn't really have a target date. I wasn't really expecting to get a call this year, so it was a huge surprise for me," he said. "I didn't really have a target date. I was more concerned with going to big league camp next year and trying to turn some heads at that point." Normally a second baseman, Betts was forced to play the outfield in order to have a spot in the Sox' lineup with Dustin Pedroia occupying second. "Center field has also been a place I've kind of enjoyed playing," Betts said. "That or second base, but second base is obviously blocked, so center field is fine." Betts and the Red Sox had the misfortune of going up against Jake Arrieta on Monday night. The Cubs starter nearly no-hit the Sox before Stephen Drew got a base hit in the eighth inning. "He's hitting spots. There's not much you can do at that point. I think he was throwing three or four pitches for strikes yesterday," Betts said of Arrieta. "There's not much we can do besides wait for him to make mistakes, and he didn't. Props to him for pitching that well. He's been great all year." Betts was hitting .355 in Portland and .322 in Pawtucket before reaching the majors. But when asked if he has ever slumped in his career, he said, "Absolutely. It's just a matter of how quickly you get out of the struggles. ... Even when I'm going well I always get extra swings in and just try and keep myself consistent. I think that's kind of how I get out of slumps." Betts has taken noticeably large leads when he's reached base so far, something he said he never realized. "When I first got to Triple-A they told me my lead was that big," he said. "I didn't really realize it. I didn't think it was that big. They told me I probably have to take a half-step back."