FORT MYERS, Fla. — According to multiple industry sources, with the Red Sox on the verge of starting spring training games, the team has not been engaged in substantive talks since the opening of camp with shortstop Stephen Drew. The team has not ruled out categorically the possibility of re-signing the shortstop, but it views such a scenario as unlikely at this time — in the same way, for instance, that team officials imagined hypothetical scenarios where they became engaged on a free agent such as Ubaldo Jimenez if his market absolutely cratered.
Manager John Farrell said earlier this month, at the start of camp, that he did not want the Drew situation to become a “lingering what-if” for players in camp. With games set to start, the team is comfortable with the roster as currently comprised. Again, that could change if there were an injury on the left side of the Sox’ infield, but at the present, the team is comfortable moving forward with Xander Bogaerts at shortstop and Will Middlebrooks at third base.
“I don’t know that we had a hard date in mind,” manager John Farrell said regarding whether the start of games marked a time when the possibility of acquiring Drew might be dismissed. “I think it was in fairness to the guys that are here and focusing on their own preparation for the season. We also know we’re in an endless pursuit to build and fortify our roster. I don’t have any update on the status of that particular situation. We never agreed upon a hard date, but it was more just the team that we currently have. My view is always, these are the players that we have and what can we do to put them in a better situation? If that’s through their focus and concentration along with their physical work, that’s our focus as a staff.”
Farrell did say that the team feels “very good” about Bogaerts at shortstop.
“I feel good about him. I think his movements have become a little more efficient, particularly with his first step quickness. That lends to added range at the position,” said Farrell. “More than anything, he’s getting to know a feel for the game at the major league level.”
That view was echoed by third base and infield coach Brian Butterfield.
‘He’s got great body control, he’s a great athlete,” said Butterfield. “The main thing that we’ve been concentrating on is his feet. I think with all young shortstops it just becomes a matter of time before they know where to put those feet down. He’s getting there. He’s still not there completely, and he’d be the first one to tell you that. But extremely athletic. And when he does it right with his feet, you see the explosion, the body control, and a guy that’s going to be able to be creative, gets the ball in the air quickly and with some arm strength. He’s going to be a guy that we’re really looking forward to seeing, and I can’t wait to see some reps here in spring training.’
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