Wednesday, April 23, 2014
One of my favorite conversations from spring training was a quick chat with Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr., the top prospects in the Red Sox organization (although it is just a matter of time when we drop the prospect from Bradley’s description and simply call him a rookie).
Both Bogaerts and Bradley Jr. are extremely talented, and much is expected of them. But if they were feeling any pressure, they hide it well. They smile often, laugh easily and are a joy to be around. When they are told of their high rankings as prospects, they quickly remind you how much work they still need to do.
Bogaerts, 20, is from Aruba. He speaks Dutch, Spanish and the native Papiamento. He also speaks English, “but not this English,” Bogaerts said, explaining the English he learned is more of a Jamaican version. Different dialect.
When conversing in the U.S., Bogaerts uses an internal filter before speaking.
“Sometimes it takes long to answer a question, because I have to put it into American English,” he said.
He communicates fine. And, of course, his bat speaks volumes. He’s a special player. For more on Bogaerts, see today’s column.
Bogaerts will be at Hadlock today along with the other Sea Dogs as they meet the media. The team announced it’s roster on Tuesday. They begin play Thursday.
News of some former Sea Dogs is slowly surfacing.
Left-hander Tommy Hottovy, who appeared with Portland for parts of five different seasons before finally making it in the big leagues, is back in the Eastern League. Hottovy, who pitched in the majors for both Boston and Kansas City, was traded twice in the off-season, to Texas and then Toronto. He was in the Blue Jays major league spring training camp and has been sent down to the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
The Richmond Flying Squirrels, Double-A affiliate of the Giants, has two ex-Dogs: Pitcher Caleb Clay and catcher Mark Wagner. Clay was a minor league free agent and signed with the Giants in the off-season. Wagner was with the Red Sox organization until last year, when he played independent ball.
The Red Sox play Game 2 tonight in Yankee Stadium. New York is still without Derek Jeter and, according to the Daily News, there is no timetable for his return.
Meanwhile, the Orioles won their season opener against the Rays. Jon Heyman of cbssports.com says there is no reason to believe that Baltimore can't be in the playoffs again.
Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.
Follow his thoughts on the Boston Red Sox and Portland Sea Dogs on Clearing the Bases
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