BOSTON — Xander Bogaerts was called into Red Sox manager John Farrell’s office a few hours before Tuesday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park. It was at that point the rookie shortstop learned his season was about to drastically change.
The Red Sox agreed to a one-year deal with free-agent shortstop Stephen Drew on Tuesday, meaning the bulk of Bogaerts’ playing time this season will now come at third base. Bogaerts expressed acceptance of the move following Tuesday’s 7-4 loss to the Blue Jays, although it’s clear the 21-year-old has a soft spot for his natural position.
“My heart is always at shortstop,” Bogaerts said. “(But) they felt we were a better team with (Drew), so that’s why they went out and got him.”
Bogaerts’ defense at shortstop has been subpar, giving the Red Sox another reason to pursue the sure-handed Drew. Bogaerts, however, feels like he finally was gaining a sense of comfort at shortstop after some early defensive woes.
The results seemed to be improving of late, but Bogaerts’ defense clearly still is a work in progress. He committed two errors — one throwing, one fielding — in Tuesday’s loss, and it’s quite possible the whirlwind day messed with the young infielder’s head a bit.
“There was a lot going on today,” Bogaerts said after the game. “I don’t want to make no excuses, but it definitely was a tough day.”
There likely will be an adjustment period as Bogaerts gets acclimated at third base upon Drew’s arrival — which could be in 10 to 12 days, according to Farrell. He played the position with the Red Sox in 2013, though, so it isn’t exactly foreign territory for the Aruba native.
“I kind of did it last year, so I don’t think it will be a big problem,” Bogaerts said of flip-flopping between third base and shortstop. “The only thing is I just got to get the work in at the position I’m playing that specific day.”
It’s possible Bogaerts still could see playing time at shortstop this season, particularly against left-handed starters. In the meantime, he simply plans to roll with the punches upon arriving at the ballpark.
“We’ll see. Like I said, I’ll come in here day-by-day and see where I’m playing,” Bogaerts said. “I’m just happy to have a jersey on for the Red Sox.”
Farrell said Tuesday the Red Sox still view Bogaerts as a shortstop long-term. It would be easy for Bogaerts to question whether that’s truly the case after Tuesday’s news, but the rookie doesn’t intend to let anything steer him away from what’s made him one of baseball’s most intriguing young players.
“I’ll always see myself as a shortstop,” Bogaerts said, “and I’ll always keep working hard to stay there.”
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