NEW YORK — Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell doesn’t want anyone to get it twisted when it comes to Mookie Betts’ call-up.
Betts was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday to help spark the Red Sox’s listless offense. The 21-year-old has set the bar high with his impressive run in the minors, but he isn’t being viewed — at least organizationally — as the potential solution to all of Boston’s problems.
“He’s here because of what he’s done and what he’s doing and not to do more than that,” Farrell said before Saturday’s game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. “That’s an easy thing to say, but he isn’t looked upon as the savior for the Red Sox. He’s looked upon as a young, talented and exciting young player, and we’re looking forward to him taking the field for us. We’re confident that he’ll be able to contribute.”
Betts has been on the Red Sox’s radar for weeks, but Farrell said the final decision to call up the phenom was made following Friday’s 6-0 loss, in which Boston produced just three hits. The Sox, who had been carrying 12 position players while sorting out their fluid rotation situation, wanted to go back to carrying 13 position players. Betts represented the most logical choice based on his performance and the uncertainty surrounding outfielder Shane Victorino’s return. Pitcher Rubby De La Rosa was optioned to make room.
It’s been a whirlwind year and a half for Betts, who entered 2013 on the heels of a mediocre 2012 in which there was plenty of room for improvement. He raked last season at Single-A Greenville and High-A Salem but didn’t do enough to receive an invitation to the offseason’s Red Sox Rookie Development Program or an invitation to major league spring training. Betts responded to the snubs by tearing up Double-A and continuing his success at Triple-A to the point where the Red Sox’s hand was forced.
“It’s a quick ascent; there’s no doubt about it,” Farrell said. “Every level that he has been assigned to, challenged with — however you want to describe it — he has more than answered the call to it. I think the fact that he wasn’t invited to some of those means he’s outpaced some of that projection.
“I think the way we always view it is players will tell you when their time has come and when they’re ready. And based on what he’s done throughout every level in the minor leagues, the next challenge was here. The need is here, as is Mookie.”
Mookie indeed has arrived, bringing some extra hope to a club that has fallen on desperate times.
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