The sun had been hiding for at least two hours during Saturday’s annual Futures at Fenway doubleheader, but Deven Marrero’s metallic-yellow sunglasses were still resting atop his Lowell Spinners cap.
In a way, the glasses mirrored his personality: sparkly, magnetic, and ready to protect.
Whatever negative things are going on at the top of the Red Sox organization, the short-season Single A squad isn’t interested.
The 21-year-old Marrero helps make sure of it.
“He’s a leader,” said 19-year-old Mookie Betts, a fifth-round selection a year ago. “Just like he should be.
“If I have a bad at-bat, by the time I get back to the dugout, we’re laughing again. He keeps my mind positive. So we don’t pay attention to any of that other stuff.”
While nine-hour rides on a cramped bus aren’t out of the ordinary, the lifestyle in the minor leagues serves as a good reminder to be happy and appreciative for every opportunity.
Marrero doesn’t even own a car.
“The hotels we stay in do have beds,” he said. “That’s all I can say about that. That’s the minor league life.”
But he’s always smiling.
“I look at him, and I see Pedey,” said Lowell manager Bruce Crabbe, referring to Dustin Pedroia, whom he also instructed in the minors.
The comparisons between Marrero and Pedroia go beyond their careers at Arizona State.
Betts called Marrero “chirpy,” but Marrero said the folks at ASU all play that way.
“We’re dirt bags, that’s what we call ourselves,” said the 6-foot-1-inch, 194-pound shortstop, who lined the first pitch he saw Saturday against Hudson Valley for a single. “We grind it out.”
Marerro has a team-leading .360 on-base percentage and New York-Penn League-leading 21 stolen bases.
Crabbe rattled off Marrero’s skills and accomplishments while comparing them with Pedroia’s.
“They both love to come to the ballpark,” Crabbe said. “They just have that baseball player in them that’s hard to find.”
Marrero finished 1 for 4 as Lowell lost the game, 6-5, to fall to 28-30.
Lowell pitcher injured
Lowell starter Brian Johnson, a lefthander drafted 31st overall in June, suffered multiple orbital bone fractures in the left side of his face after being struck by a line drive on the second pitch he threw.
“He’s seeing the surgeon right now so we have no idea what the results are, but it’s not a pretty sight,” Crabbe said. “There was no blood or anything, and he wasn’t unconscious.”
Johnson was facing Hudson Valley’s Joey Rickard when he was struck. While being carted off the field on a stretcher he waved his hand.
A Red Sox spokesperson said there were no signs of a concussion and Johnson was resting comfortably at an area hospital.
Bard in a bind
Daniel Bard did not pitch for Pawtucket during the second game of the doubleheader, which the PawSox lost, 2-0, to Buffalo. He hasn’t pitched a clean inning since July 29, a span of seven appearances, and has a 7.45 ERA with the PawSox.
“If he was doing what everybody wanted him to do, overnight he’d flip the switch and be up [in the majors],” said Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler. “He’ll do it again, it’s just not as quick as anybody wants it to be, that’s all.”