Outside of hiring a new manager, the Boston Red Sox haven’t made many changes to the team that fell short in last year’s American League’s Division Series. But two of the club’s youngest players plan on shaking things up from within.
Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts spoke to reporters Thursday morning from the Red Sox’s spring training complex in Fort Myers, Fla., and both admitted things didn’t exactly go smoothly in 2017 despite 93 wins and a division title.
“We could have had more fun,” Betts said, via the Boston Herald. “I think we still enjoyed it. But we could have had more fun. Through the rough times, I think those are the times when we could have had a little more fun instead of being down so much.”
The outfielder turned just 25 in October, but as he enters his fifth major league season, he’s taking it upon himself to lead that attitude adjustment.
“If we hit a rough patch this year, I feel like maybe we can learn from last year and continue to enjoy the game and maybe get out of it faster,” Betts said. ” … I’m going to approach things a little differently as far as, if I’m not playing well or if we’re losing or whatnot, I can do my best to try and find a way to get everybody back happy, smiling, excited and going to play.”
Among those 2017 rough patches was an April incident involving second baseman Dustin Pedroia and Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado that had some questioning the Red Sox’s chemistry based on how they handled the situation. Bogaerts insists the 2018 Sox will be stronger because of that, though.
“Whenever there are a lot of men in a room there will always be some kind of headbutts, disagreements,” the 25-year-old shortstop said, via the Herald. “But in the end we came out on top, division leaders, division champs, so we had to be doing something right. As grown men we get past all those issues, problems and move forward.
“We’re all grown men. I definitely believe we all learn from last year. We had a lot of stuff going on last year, to be honest. We all live, learn and move forward.”
Betts and Bogaerts (who is six days older than the outfielder) are the seventh- and eight-youngest players on the team, respectively. They’re also among the team’s longest tenured players outside of Pedroia, though, and again will be asked to fill a leadership void left by David Ortiz that was a bit too evident at times in 2017.
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