When shortstop Deven Marrero played for the Boston Red Sox in spring training last month, Manager John Farrell raved about his fielding.
But how does Marrero bat?
Farrell didn’t hesitate: “Right-handed.”
After his little joke, Farrell expressed his confidence in Marrero and his offensive approach.
So far Marrero is showing he could be the player the Red Sox wanted, and more, when they drafted him in the first round in 2012.
Marrero went 3 for 5 on Friday night, helping the Portland Sea Dogs to an 11-2 victory over the New Britain Rock Cats at Hadlock Field.
Marrero, 23, doubled and singled twice. Even his first out was productive – a 12-pitch strikeout in the second inning. He has hit safely in all six games he’s played this year, batting .370.
“Balls are finding holes right now,” Marrero said. “Just trying to control my at-bats. Trying to control my body. Just let my hands and my eyes work for me. So far it’s going well.”
One reason Marrero may have been available to the Red Sox when they drafted 24th is he batted .284 his junior year at Arizona State (but he also hit .397 as a freshman).
When Marrero was promoted to Portland near the end of last season, he showcased his hot glove and light bat (.236) in a small sample of 19 games.
His six games in 2014 is another small sample, but it certainly is a good sign.
“He’s understanding himself at the plate,” Sea Dogs hitting coach Rich Gedman said. “He’s a high-energy kid and he’s learning how to relax at the plate and to trust his swing.
“He is so gifted athletically. You watch the grace and ease in the way he moves to a baseball. And now you see an easy-effort swing. He’s worked hard on that in spring training, so it’s good to see him get off to a good start.”
Marrero contributed to Portland’s 14-hit night. Stefan Welch, the Australian acquired from the Pirates last year, knocked in five runs with a single and double.
Mickey Pena (1-1) got the win with five innings of work (five hits, one run, two walks, three strikeouts), a better outcome than his three-inning loss last week. He had added a two-seam fastball to go with a four-seamer, curve, slider and change-up.
“Everything was working,” Pena said. “Compared to my last outing, it was more mechanical stuff I had to take care of, finishing good pitches and being relentless.”
Robby Scott, a top reliever in Salem last year, followed Pena with 22/3 perfect innings (three strikeouts). Miguel Celestino finished and allowed one run.
New Britain starter Taylor Rogers (0-2) allowed five runs in the first inning.
NOTES: Catcher Blake Swihart threw out a base-stealer in the first inning and is 3 of 3 this year. … Second baseman Mookie Betts got the night off. … Former Sea Dogs Tony Thomas and Reynaldo Rodriguez were in the Rock Cats’ lineup, combining for three doubles. … The announced paid attendance was 2,817. … Portland’s rained-out game in Trenton earlier this week will be made up as part of a day-night doubleheader May 31. … Magnet schedules will be given out to the first 1,500 fans before Saturday’s game. Plus, the mascot band Kastaways will perform pregame outside the ballpark.
Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at: