Deven Marrero sat with a couple of teammates Tuesday afternoon, eating his pregame meal on a couch in the Portland Sea Dogs clubhouse. On the TV, baseball commentators discussed Boston’s signing of shortstop Stephen Drew and what that means for Xander Bogaerts.
Reporter Ken Rosenthal chimed in that “if Marrero is what (the Red Sox) think at shortstop, then Bogaerts stays at third base.”
Marrero lifted his head at the sound of his name, then went back to his plate.
“I really don’t pay attention to that stuff anyways,” Marrero said.
Well, the majority of baseball fans in New England do pay attention to all that Red Sox stuff and, as often happens, news in Boston has meaning in Portland.
Not only is there a chance that Drew joins the Sea Dogs – as early as Wednesday – to get ready for his re-entry to the majors, but Marrero’s future may be coming into focus … as a starting shortstop in Fenway Park.
Pencil him in for 2015.
Yes, Boston Manager John Farrell said Tuesday that the Red Sox still consider Bogaerts a shortstop in the future, but Farrell also knows all about Marrero.
“Deven Marrero has looked spectacular at shortstop if you ask me,” Farrell said this past spring training.
And so we did question Farrell, asking him to compare Marrero with Jose Iglesias, the benchmark of young defensive shortstops.
“I think they’re very comparable,” Farrell said. “Iggy had a little bit more flair. … They go about it a little bit differently, but no less effective on Deven’s part.”
Marrero’s ability at shortstop has been trumpeted since he was drafted in the first round in the 2012 draft. He reached Portland at the end of last year and joined the major leaguers in spring training three months ago.
“Being around those guys, and knowing I have a chance to be there is pretty cool, pretty special,” Marrero said. “You just see your future right in front of you, your dream right in front of you.”
The supposed drawback on Marrero was his offense. He batted .397 his freshman year at Arizona State, but cooled to .284 his junior year, mainly because of a nagging ankle injury.
“I hit at the end of the season when I started getting healthy,” Marrero said.
Still, heading in to this season, Marrero’s professional average in 168 games was .258.
In spring training, Farrell noted Marrero’s gap power, but indicated he was fiddling too much with his approach.
That changed this year.
“Worked on things, tweaked a couple things, trying to find my swing,” Marrero said.
After Tuesday’s game, he’s batting .288, with 13 doubles.
“It’s a daily process,” hitting coach Rich Gedman said. “Get up there, be relaxed and work on your swing, work on your approach.”
Gedman did not want to talk about Marrero’s past.
“I like to look at what I see now, and I see a consistent approach, a consistent working on his swing, not searching for more, not looking for more,” Gedman said.
“It has transferred from the cage to BP to in the game. He’s starting to become who he is. It’s really kind of neat to see.”
While the bat improves, the glove appears near golden. In spring training, Farrell raved about several of Marrero’s plays, including one made in the third base/shortstop hole – fielding a bouncer and throwing out a fast runner.
“An acrobatic play,” Farrell called it.
Marrero has shown the same ability at Hadlock.
Last Sunday, he fielded a hard-hit grounder in the hole and leaped, making a strong throw to first for the out. Pitcher Mike Augliera still shakes his head about it.
“The best play I’ve ever seen in person,” Augliera said. “Right off the bat, I thought that’s a hit. Then I remembered Deven was back there. As crazy as that play was, you almost expect it. He makes all those hard plays look easy.
“He’s the best I’ve ever seen.”
Marrero may be sitting for a few days. He jammed his right middle finger and departed after the sixth inning.
He can sit back and, if Drew does come to Portland, watch the veteran shortstop. And learn.
Boston’s deal with Drew is for one year. Then he’ll likely seek a long-term deal elsewhere.
Meanwhile, John Farrell may already have Drew’s replacement in mind.
Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at: