At 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds, Xander Bogaerts could be the body double for Manny Machado, the former shortstop prospect who broke into the majors last season as a third baseman for the Baltimore Orioles. Could Bogaerts be in line for a similar position switch? Bogaerts, a 20-year-old shortstop and the Red Sox’ top prospect, will play third base for the Netherlands in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. In preparation for the tournament, he took grounders at third yesterday and will play third tomorrow in the Sox’ seven-inning exhibition against Boston College. “Third base, I think the ball comes faster at you,” Bogaerts said. “But infield is infield. It’s going to be fun. I’m working hard staying at shortstop, but I don’t have a problem with it.” In the long term, the Sox still believe Bogaerts can stay at shortstop despite his size. After all, Cal Ripken Jr. played the position for 16 years and won two Gold Gloves even though he’s 6-4. Derek Jeter is entering his 19th season at shortstop and hasn’t been affected by his 6-3 frame. The Orioles only moved Machado to third because they had a need at the position last season. However, by exposing him to the new position during spring training, they minimized his adjustment once he reached the majors. Thus, Sox manager John Farrell admits there’s value to giving Bogaerts experience at other positions.
Taking a turn at third
Boston Herald | Feb 20