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.
Giardi and Price discuss the mega deal that CB Josh Norman signed with Washington and if he is worth it. They also relate it to the Pats and Malcolm Butler. Does the Norman deal mean that Butler is about to cash in and will the Pats go along for the ride? This leads to a discussion on other players the Patriots need to extend very soon.
Danny Vitale, the SuperBack - a fullback/TE hybrid type - joins GIardi and Price on NFL Sunday to discuss the process of entering the NFL Draft, the combine and interviewing with various NFL teams including your New England Patriots.
With the NFL draft only a few days away, Mike and Chris preview how things are shaping for the Pats and the rest of the league. It will be a strange this year since they don't have a first round pick - how will Belichick and company approach this dilemma? Also, would the Pats contemplate the idea of trading Jimmy G?
It wouldn't be a Celtics v Hawks Game 6 preview/Game 5 breakdown without ESPN's Celtics Whisperer Chris Forsberg joining Sam Packard and Jared Weiss for some WEEI Studio magic. They discuss the Hawks' transition dominance on their mega runs and the bizarre night for Isaiah Thomas. Of course they also answered your #WEEICeltics Tweet Bag questions!
The boys recap Marcus Smart and Paul Millsap's incredible battle in the Celtics' Game 4 win over the Atlanta Hawks with ESPN's Chris Forsberg. Jared Weiss and Sam Packard discussed Jared Sullinger's struggles and the reemergence of Machine Bun Kelly. They discuss inside media stuff like when to applaud for honorees and Chris' devotion to southern unsweetened tea. Of course they answered your #WEEICeltics Tweet Bag questions too.
Celts beat writer Steve Bulpett is on his way to the Garden and gives Arcand a call to give his thoughts on what he expects tonight from the Green team in what is sure to be a raucous atmosphere.
Red Sox third base/infield coach Brian Butterfield joined Rob Bradford to get his take on Hanley Ramirez, Travis Shaw and Pablo Sandoval. Butterfield, an avid Patriots fan, also predicts who the Pats might take in the second round, while giving a very pointed message to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Joe and Tim talk with Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia after he had a two home run game, one of which was a grand slam that propelled the Red Sox to a 9-4 win over the Atlanta Braves
We sit down with the Skipper of the Sox, manager John Farrell joins Dale, Holley and Thornton for his weekly visit.
DJ and Pete continue to assess the season that was for the Bruins and look toward the future for the franchise and how they can improve.
DJ and Pete are together for the final Sunday Skate of the season. They get into their overall thoughts on the season, the Bruins keeping Claude Julien on as head coach and the end-of-season press conferences last week. They discuss the rebuild process, what the Bruins need and how they can obtain it. Plenty of callers have their own theories and opinions on all of these topics as well.
Butch is joined by two-thirds of the Sunday Skate show in DJ and Pete. The guys discuss the problems with Bruins including leadership and grit, who should stay and who should go and if Claude is to blame.
Kirk rants on the company's decision not to send the show to Cleveland for the Republican National Convention.
Schill joins the guys a week after he was dismissed by ESPN.
The guys go at with Gary over deflategate and Tom Brady.
On yesterday's "Breaking Balls" podcast, John, Gerry and Kirk opined that the Midday show never fights with each other. Upon hearing the audio of those opinions, Glenn, Lou and Christian immediately get in a fight about what was said on Thursday morning's conference call.
Suspected Deflategate whistle-blower, Mike Kensil, has been re-assigned to "VP of Operations - International" which means he'll be less and less visible in the U.S.
Roger Goodell is doing the media rounds touting his success over Tom Brady and NFLPA to anyone that will listen.
Roger Goodell is now talking to anyone who will listen about the NFL's victory in court over Tom Brady, and it stands in stark contrast to how Brady handled his initial victory in the original arbitration case.
We look at the NFL draft and how the Patriots should handle their first round snub, as well as look at the Celtics-Hawks tonight and more on Deflategate and Roger's victory tour.
We end the Dale and Holley show with the best soundbites of the day.
It’s all about the music – the crew touches on Prince, and the greatest bands of all time
Mikey, Christian Arcand, and Chris Villani talk about the Sox horrific loss today, and MJ takes over the text line
Mikey, Christian Arcand, and Chris Villani talk about the Sox horrific loss today, plus they’re joined by Cassie, the Textress
The Revolution continue to sputter but all of a sudden Ben & Russ have switched their opinions on how they look. They also address the upcoming Copa America Centenario.
Jerry is joined by MIT's John Mayo, project manager on the revolutionary project that will change transportation - and the world - forever: The Hyperloop.
We check in for the national perspective on Tom Brady's reinstated suspension from MMQB/SI's Peter KingMore from this show
Is the fire out? The passion Patriots fans once held for this topic seems to have fizzled. We explore what the Patriots do from here, especially the first four games of the season.More from this show
The guys look at what's next for Tom Brady.More from this show
In the latest edition of the It Is What It Is podcast, Chris Price talks with ESPN's Field Yates about the Patriots and what they'll do at quarterback in the wake of the latest Deflategate ruling. Chris and Field also discuss how New England is going to approach this year's draft, as well as how the Pats stack up against the rest of the AFC East at this point of the offseason.More from this show