Just because Xander Bogaerts did not factor into the Red Sox’ 3-2 loss to the Giants in a big way did not make him any less of a big deal last night..

He saved a run with a charge of a groundball to end the fifth and he went 0-for-3 with two groundouts and a whiff but perhaps the most telling fact about his very first major-league game came with an observation he made afterwards.

“Maybe I was relaxed -- I didn’t expect that I’d be so relaxed’’ he said about anything that surprised him.

Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised either.

Ever since the Red Sox signed Bogaerts just four years ago this Friday as a 16-year-old from Oranjestad Aruba they had more than just a hunch that this prospect had a better chance than most to pan out.

Last night even though the boxscore did not and never will show it he rewarded their faith.

He had already grounded out twice in his first two at-bats – let the record show that he took the first pitch he saw as a big-leaguer a 76-mph strike from Ryan Vogelsong – when Jake Peavy allowed one run on an RBI triple from Joaquin Arias. Peavy got two outs and needed another. Up came Marco Scutaro who hit a slow chopper to Bogaerts who had to scoop up the ball and get off a quick release to nail the diving Scutaro at first base.

“Just get an out’’ was all Bogaerts could think.”I just had to get an out I saw him dive it was a pretty close play but I think I had him though.’’

It was a bang-bang play. Quick thinking quick acting on Bogaerts’ part.

It’s all come quick for Bogaerts. Three-and-a-half seasons in the minor-leagues is a nanosecond for any player. With Bogaerts the Red Sox caught a glimpse of their future as quickly as it took him to reach the highest plateau.
“Oh yeah yes’’ said Mike Hazen with a long deep laugh before the game. The Red Sox assistant GM was recalling the glowing report filed by then international scouting guru Craig Shipley leading up to the Aug. 23 2009 signing and then the first look the Red Sox got of Bogaerts in February of 2010. “Ship brought him down to spring training Torey (Lovullo) was then the manager in Pawtucket that year and at 16 years old he was taking batting practice and hitting balls out of the ballpark in spring training on a back field. From that point on we knew he was going to have some juice and some life in his bat.

“Again there’s a lot of guys that we sign that have power and athleticism. Some of those guys don’t get out of Double A and A ball because they don’t refine that approach and they don’t work on the craft the way he has.”

Don’t misunderstand. Bogaerts was not a Kevin Youkilis-type who learned how to sharpen tools that were a bit blunter than what others are born with. Bogaerts had it all from the start. He just never thought they were enough.

“The physical tools are extremely rare the power the swing at any age -- it has nothing to do with age’’ said Hazen who oversaw most of Bogaerts rise through the minor leagues when Hazen ran the player development system. “The physical tools those are the reason why Craig Shipley signed him in the first place. Those have all been present from Day 1. I think he’s really starting to mature as a hitter now but those physical tools have been there from Day 1 that’s what stands out.”