Xander Bogaerts: 'My heart is always at shortstop'

May 20, 2014 - 7:53 pm
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John Farrell took the time to explain the re-signing of Stephen Drew to Xander Bogaerts on Tuesday afternoon. But that did little to diminish the sting of the message. Bogaerts has been insistent throughout his rise through the pro ranks that he can be, that he will be a big league shortstop. And so, even though Farrell and the Red Sox informed Bogaerts that they still believe that, long-term, he can and will do just that, the message that he will defer to Drew at that position, and instead play third base as his primary position (with some shortstop on days when Drew sits), was clearly a challenging one to hear. "[Farrell] said that he felt we're a better team with [Drew]. I guess that's why they went out and get him," said Bogaerts. "My heart is always at shortstop but they felt we're a better team with him, so as I said, that's why they went out and got him. And I was just feeling so good over there. But they made the decision that they have to make." Bogaerts was short on answers about what moving to third base meant. He said that he'd work on a daily basis to achieve comfort at the position, while also noting that he'd continue to work at shortstop while preparing as best as he could on a daily basis for whatever position he was being asked to play. He suggested that the experience of 2013 -- when he moved between both third and short -- has prepared him for the task of getting his work in at both positions and that he would be able to separate his offense from his defense. "I kind of did it last year, so I don't think it will be a big problem," said Bogaerts. "The only thing is, you've just got to get your work in at the position you're playing as best as you can." Still, he couldn't mask his disappointment. Bogaerts acknowledged that the two errors he made on Tuesday likely reflected his confounded state. "I mean, there was a lot going on today," said Bogaerts. "I don't want to make no excuses, but it was definitely a tough day." Bogaerts noted on a couple of occasions how hard he'd been working to solidify his standing as a shortstop, how much progress he'd felt from the start of spring training until this point. Asked if it was thus frustrating to be moved, the 21-year-old responded with caution. "I don't know what to say on that one," he admitted. "I worked so hard at being there. Just now I started feeling comfortable out there but they did what they have to do." The result of this switch appears to be some uncertainty about his future role. Bogaerts said that Farrell told him that the team continues to believe in his future as a big league shortstop, but when asked if he believed them on that front, he hesitated. "We'll see. Like I said, I'll come in here day by day by day and see where I'm playing. I'm just happy and thankful to have a jersey on with a Red Sox logo on front," said Bogaerts. "I've been told everything, a lot of things coming up through the minors, but I always have seen myself as a shortstop and I always worked hard to stay there. ... I definitely view myself as shortstop. I keep saying that everyday. But I guess now I'll be on the other side."
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