The Sox feel that Mookie Betts can stay in the outfield going forward. (Getty Images)

Red Sox 'don't expect' to consider Mookie Betts at third base

September 03, 2014 - 2:50 pm
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NEW YORK -- The commitment to Rusney Castillo for 2015 comes with an interesting and, for the Red Sox, promising dilemma: What to do with Mookie Betts? Castillo is viewed as a likely center fielder for next year. Betts has performed this month like a player who is capable of making an impact in that same role. That presents the Sox with options (given the presence of Castillo, Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and a center fielder-turned-right fielder in Shane Victorino) rather than problems, in the view of GM Ben Cherington. "We believe we'€™re better off having more than one good major league center fielder and hopefully we have, in the long run, in terms of long term control, hopefully we have three at the upper levels now. We'€™ll figure out a way to incorporate all of them hopefully," said Cheringotn. "We understand next April there'€™s nine spots in the lineup so nine people will be in the lineup and we'€™ll figure out who those nine guys are and how it all winds up. I think we want as many good players as we can and we'€™re happy that we think we have a number of guys that could play center field in the major leagues and in our particular ballpark, we like having more than one center fielder in the lineup at any time anyway because of the dimensions and hopefully this gives us a chance to do that." Cherington said that the team is comfortable with the idea of Betts as an outfielder going forward based on what he's shown to date. Because Betts has the athleticism to be versatile and move around the field, the GM didn't rule out the idea that he could once again play in the infield beyond 2014, but the team believes he can be an important contributor over the outfield expanse. "I wouldn'€™t rule anything out moving forward. He'€™s been an infielder for most of his life but we think he can be a good player and obviously given that he'€™s had less reps in the outfield, and he'€™s made quick improvement out there," said Cherington. "It looks like he'€™s going to be plenty good to play out there if that'€™s where the opportunity is. We'€™re not going to rule anything out." Cherington likewise didn't rule out the possibility of Betts at third base completely -- but he did make it sound like an unlikely roster outcome. "We haven't had that discussion. I think, obviously, he signs as a shortstop, moves to second base, got very comfortable there, and then moved to the outfield this year. We have a lot of confidence in his ability to play second and the outfield, and obviously we think he's going to be a really good defensive player and a good baserunner," said Cherington. "We haven't discussed the left side of the infield yet. I don't expect to. I guess I can't completely rule it out. I don't expect to. We'll likely focus on either one of the outfield spots or second base, and obviously on this team, second base is hopefully locked up."

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