FORT MYERS, Fla. — It wasn’t exactly a watershed, but it was a first. On Tuesday morning, for the first time in his career, Xander Bogaerts took groundballs at third base rather than shortstop as part of his preparation to play as a third baseman and designated hitter for Team Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic. He will also take groundballs at third on Wednesday before starting at third base in an exhibition game against Boston College on Thursday.
Sox manager John Farrell suggested that Bogaerts had a favorable first day of work at the position.
“[It was] just an early look today. Typically corner infielders are going to use a one-handed fielding technique, which he naturally went to, just moving to third base,” said Farrell. “He’s an infielder. He’s got a lot of natural ability and instincts there. We’ll get two days of work days with him and then get him into a game on Thursday.”
The shift is not without its challenges. Will Middlebrooks, for instance, needed months to become comfortable at third base when he moved there just prior to the start of his first professional assignment with the Lowell Spinners in 2008. The different demands on a third baseman are subtle but real.
“There’s different angles. A shortstop’s got the ability, one, he’s further away from the ball so there’s more of an internal clock, and fielding the ball at its highest point in that last hop. Here, it’s more reactionary,” said Farrell. “There’s going to be a little bit of different angles to it. he’s going to end up playing balls more straight up rather than being able to come around the ball. He’ll come through a given play. Hands and feet are the same in terms of the timing of it. There’s no real concern. It’s just getting comfortable with the angle he’ll be seeing a ground ball.”
There can be benefit to even a brief introduction to third base. For instance, a year ago, the Orioles were able to move Manny Machado from short to third in the big leagues despite the fact that he’d played only two games at the position in the minor leagues thanks in part to the spring training instruction the phenom received at the position.
For now, with Will Middlebrooks in line to be the Sox’ everyday third baseman, the Sox do not foresee a big league need for Bogaerts at third base.
“The major difference between [Machado's situation last year and Bogaerts' this year] is there’s a pressing need there. Certainly, provided Will stays healthy, that need doesn’t exist here,” said Farrell. “At the same time, it’s an opportunity to expose [Bogaerts] to the position and see where things go as he and [Jose Iglesias] and others get deeper in their careers and where they ultimately end up. As a young guy, you don’t know how that body type is going to continue to mature physically, but by all indications, it seems like he can stay at shortstop.”
That, certainly, is the case for now. But if Middlebrooks should get injured, or if down the line Iglesias establishes himself as an everyday shortstop, the fact that Bogaerts is getting some exposure to a new position has the potential to carry with it a positive impact.
Patriots Safety Devin McCourty joined Glenn, Lou, and Christian, and talked about covering the Steelers Wide Receivers, and how he's helping the players who are in the AFC Championship for the first time prepare.
ProFootball Talk's Mike Florio told Glenn, Lou, and Christian that the Patriots have a quiet confidence that they can outscore the Steelers, since they've proven they have the ability.
Holley and Keefe check in with NFL Network's Heath Evans for some final thoughts on the Houston win and to look ahead at the Steelers in the AFC Championship.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Ben Kichen of the 'Dale and Holley Show' talk about Isaiah Thomas' flagrant foul against the Heat, and also discuss why it's time for the Celtics to address their biggest need.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Ben Kichen of the "Dale and Holley Show" discuss the latest news on the injury that has kept Isaiah Thomas off the court and how valuable it is for Marcus Smart to stay in control.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Ben Kichen of 'The Dale and Holley Show' talk about last night's disappointing finish against the Rockets and they talk about their love for DeMarcus Cousins.
Mut, Rob, and John are talking about some of the Hall of Fame candidates who gained or lost support within the last year. Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds both gained support, while Curt Schilling lost a chunk of votes he had gotten last year.
Mut, Bradford, and Tomase are in after it was announced that Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, and Ivan 'Pudge' Rodriguez will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. They also talk about some notable candidates who weren't elected this year like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds.
Rob Bradford is joined by Jackie Bradley Jr. to discuss race in baseball and in Boston, along with the importance of Martin Luther King Day. The Red Sox outfielder also dives into how he never really felt comfortable in a major league clubhouse until last year, the approach he's taking heading into 2017, and why he's not playing in the World Baseball Classic.
Guys discuss if or when the Bruins will fire Coach Julian
Ken, Rear and Ty get into a very solid week for the B's beating St Louis and the Flyers and losing a hard-fought game against the Predators. Is this team turning things around? Krug and Marchand are kicking things up a notch. The guys also talk about Claude and Sweeney's job security before getting into some big hits around the league this week.
Ken, Rear and Ty talk all things Bruins as they come off a 4-0 shutout win in Florida and head to Carolina later today. Did that victory save Claude's job? The boys get into Don Sweeney's recent comments on Claude's job and what the future holds for the black and gold.
"D-Wood" Joins the show to talk Brady vs. Rodgers and predicts a Patriots-Packers Super Bowl.
Hour 4. Bill Belichick holds his Friday press conference while Mut and Kirk try and play a game. Mut has a big announcement. Gerry calls in from the Inauguration on his crystal-clear cell phone.
Hour 3. Ben Volin shares a stat about Trump that will blow your mind. Mut wouldn't answer any questions about Trump's alleged sexual assaults.
Old Friend Tim Benz joins OMF, and while they regale tales of dysfunction, Benz manages to predict that the Patriots will win Sunday.
Glenn, Lou, and Christian enjoy the festivities ahead of the Inauguration, and give their predictions for Patriots-Steelers in the AFC Championship Game.
Glenn, Lou, and Christian love how Bill Belichick reacts to the plethora of stupid questions he receives from the Media during his Press Conferences.
Dale, Michael and Rich Keefe spend the day discussing the AFC Championship.
We close out the work week with the best sound clips of the day.
We check in with hall of famer Michael Irvin to find out what happened to his Dallas Cowboys and look at the remaining playoff match-ups.
Kirk Minihane brings Chad Finn back to the show to talk about the Charlotte Wilder story about the relationship between the Pats and Trump. Chad defends Charlotte for some of the story and her previous articles, Kirk still has problems with what he thinks is lazy reporting. Kirk and Chad also talk about whether a third sports station in Boston would be viable and if Curt Schilling will ever make it into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Kirk Minihane has a loud and very confrontational argument with media personality John Ziegler about the guilt or innocence of Jerry Sandusky. Kirk believes him to be guilty, John believes beyond a shadow of a doubt that Sandusky is innocent. Yes, it may be an old case, but you all remember it and this episode may change your mind about some of the things you previously thought with regards to Penn State, Jerry Sandusky, and Joe Paterno.
Kirk Minihane wants to sit down with both sports editors at the major newspapers in Boston. Only Boston Herald sports editor Sean Leahy took Kirk up on the invitation to join the show. What you will hear is a great conversation between two people who are very interested in the newspaper business and how that business has changed over the years and what the future holds for newspapers. Kirk and Sean talk about the ongoing and longstanding rivalry between the Herald and Globe.
Uncle Buck, George from S**t Pats Fans Say, and Jerry Thornton talk about the Patriots history in the AFC Championship game, the big wins, the bad losses, and what it will take for the Pats to win another AFC Championship game.
Ken Laird and Chris Curtis wrap up the K&C week after a Friday show with Kirk, Mut and Ben Volin in studio.
Ken Laird and Chris Curtis recap the Thursday K&C show featuring Jon Meterparel back in the saddle.
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Hour 2. Ben Volin joins the show to discuss the Patriots game this weekend.More from this show
Dale, Michael and Rich Keefe spend the day discussing the AFC Championship.More from this show
Old Friend Tim Benz joins OMF, and while they regale tales of dysfunction, Benz manages to predict that the Patriots will win Sunday.More from this show