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A busy spring training for Bogaerts

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  March 16, 2014 12:25 PM

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PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Xander Bogaerts, who was out of camp much of last year because of the World Baseball Classic, has had “an extremely full spring training” this season according to John Farrell.

Bogaerts, who is not playing against the Rays today, is tied with Jonny Gomes for the most defensive innings played, with 60.

“[Infield coach Brian Butterfield] and I were talking about this last night,” Farrell said. “We were on defense and we were looking out at Xander. He's had an extremely full spring training. And he's has to balance a lot with footwork that he and Butter have been working on. The responsibilities of the position. Not that we're doing things different than the minor leagues are but there's a lot of expectations on him and he doesn't take anything for granted.

"So all of the work that he's in he's full go and whether that's taken the focus and concentration on his work with Butter and taken away from his at-bats, he’s had demands in spring training and ones we felt he needed. You watch his body language now and he's much more free and relaxed because of all the work and conversation that have gone on about the position. He's had a very full spring training.”

• Farrell also was asked what he hoped to see out of Jackie Bradley, Jr., over the last two weeks of spring training.

“Quality at-bats and that's not hinged to a batting average. That's just putting up quality at-bats on a consistent basis," he said. "Defensively, there's nothing to suggest he needs development or that area of the game we're confident and confident in him. It’s quality at-bats, getting on base, finding his spots to be more aggressive on the basepaths. Just using his skill set.”

• Farrell has been following the health issues former Sox shortstop Jose Iglesias has been having. Iglesias, who went to the Tigers in the three-team deal that brought right-hander Jake Peavy to Boston at the trading deadline, has been plagued by severe shin splints and has been sidelined for more than two weeks. His return to play is uncertain as of now. The Sox were aware of the problems with Iglesias’ shins while he was in the organization.

“Aware from extent where we had to monitor it,” Farrell said. “There were games where we had to get him off his feet because he felt some pain and soreness there. To see what’s come out with report, I feel sorry for the kid. He's an exciting player and anytime you see a player with an injury and he has to miss time you hate to see it because he was fun to watch. He was a great kid to have on the team, fun to be around. Unfortunately he's going to miss what appears to be a substantial amount of time.”

• Farrell has seen the similarities between the slick-fielding Iglesias and Deven Marrero, the Sox’ first-round (24th overall) pick in 2012.

“They go about it a little differently but no less effective,” Farrell said. “We talk about the number of young guys who have had very good camps. Deven Marrerro has been spectacular at shortstop if you ask me. Plays up the middle, in the hole, plays with his backhand.

"The play that stood out to me was up in Sarasota where [the Orioles Alexi] Casilla hits a high chop in the 5-6 hole and he makes somewhat of an acrobatic play and Casilla is an average or above average runner and he throws him out at first base. He’s looked very good at shortstop. I think they're very comparable when you look at their defensive ability. Iggy has more of a flair to him, not in a bad way. That was his personality at shortstop and you appreciate that. Equal capabilities.”

What kind of hitter can Marrero be?

“Right-handed,” Farrell quipped. “I think he's going to be...and here's the thing...I never want to put a number on a guy because I feel you're limiting him and that's the expectation and that's what you expect from him. There's been such an emphasis for him to be a situational hitter using that inside out stroke and work the ball to the other side of the field.

"He's a guy you can do some things with offensively. Then he jumps up and hits the 1-0 pitch off the left center field wall in Minnesota. So there's gap power in there. He's still developing as a hitter. He likes to tinker with his set-up at the plate and one of the things we're trying to get across to him is to settle into one setup and one approach at the plate and run with it. You can see him hitting in the two-hole because he has that manipulation ability or when he breaks in you probably see at the bottom of the order. But the gap order is there. I'm not that good to be able to put a number on what his major league average will be.

“Iggy had a lot of mannerism of Alex Rodriguez in the box. His mannerisms, his set-up. The elbow pad. That's the guy he idolized as a hitter. Then he understood he had to work the whole field more and when he came back up we talked about it many times, he got back to a very aggressive approach, but through that learning curve through the minors, he also had a very good two-strike approach. See some similarities with Deven. “

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