Xander Bogaerts turns page on tough Tuesday with strong offensive output

May 22, 2014 - 7:17 am

Tuesday was a long, long day for Xander Bogaerts. The 21-year-old arrived at Fenway thinking he was the shortstop for at least the rest of the 2014 season. The point had been reinforced for months by both general manager Ben Cherington and manager John Farrell since before spring training. So when the news broke that the team signed Stephen Drew to man shortstop, Bogaerts was understandably disappointed. Shortstop has been the position where he has not only played his whole life, but where he saw himself spending his major league career. There was not a question in his mind. The disappointment only grew when Bogaerts made two errors Tuesday, his first two of the month. For all of the time that Bogaerts put in during his pregame work with third base coach Brian Butterfield, it was ultimately disappointing to have to move to third base in order to make room for Drew. "I don't want to make no excuses," Bogaerts said Tuesday, "but it was definitely a tough day." But as Wednesday arrived, Bogaerts went to the park looking for a fresh start with the immediate disappointment of the situation in the rearview mirror. Bogaerts took his usual pregame ground balls from Butterfield -- at shortstop. Farrell said that a pregame meeting further clarified the team's situation with Bogaerts. "There was a follow-up conversation with him today just to, I don'€™t want to say clear the air, but to talk further about the change of position and the addition of Stephen here," Farrell said Wednesday night. "[It was] the opportunity to reiterate that we do see him as a shortstop long term." Bogaerts put the exclamation point on his Wednesday night when he went 3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI during Boston's 6-4 loss to the Blue Jays. Slowly but surely, Bogaerts' power is starting to come back to him, in no coincidence with the weather starting to get warmer. "I'm hitting the ball pretty good lately," Bogaerts said. "Just no results. Hard hit line outs, hard hit ground balls, hard hit fly balls. I just like it when I start driving, no matter if there are outs, just get it to the outfield, that's when I'm more me." Gradually, the line drives are beginning to turn into singles and the long fly balls are turning into doubles off of the Monster. Bogaerts is 13-for-33 with three doubles, a triple and a home run in his last nine games, accumulating to a .394/.44/.636 line. After a four-game hitless streak earlier in May, Bogaerts began to make some adjustments at the plate. Those adjustments are starting to yield results. "[I made adjustments on] some little stuff," Bogaerts said. "I was fouling off too many balls, so I talked with the hitting coach about what I'm feeling and we kind of agreed on what it was. Just some things that I have to fix up." Bogaerts made an adjustment to his approach at the plate after he noticed that pitchers were giving him a lot of first-pitch strikes. Bogaerts also noticed that opposing hurlers were giving him a heavy dose of breaking balls, leading to a mindset tweak. "If you don't miss the fastball, you won't get [breaking balls]," Bogaerts said. "It was just too many fouls, man. I had a 14-pitch at-bat in Minnesota the other day and balls that I should put in play, ground balls or something, and just fouling them off." In the eyes of both Farrell and Bogaerts, Tuesday's set of extenuating circumstances led to a difficult day for the youngster. Wednesday night's strong offensive output was indicative of this, as Bogaerts seemingly turned the page from a tough Tuesday. "I came in here pretty excited to get in the lineup," Bogaerts said. "Just trying to help this team win." Farrell took notice of Bogaerts' strong performance postgame. "Even earlier today, he felt like yesterday was a one-day occurrence," Farrell said. '€œThat was obvious by the way he played tonight and defensively the way he swung the bat. A quick turnaround for him."