Xander Bogaerts picked his words carefully when asked his reaction to the news that the Red Sox had signed Stephen Drew. But it was clear how disappointed he was to be moving off shortstop.
“My heart is always at shortstop. They felt that we’re a better team with him so that’s why they went out and go him,” Bogaerts said after a 7-4 loss against Toronto Tuesday night. “I was just feeling so good over there.”
The 21-year-old committed two errors in the game, making a wild throw in the first inning then dropping a ball in the fifth.
“There was a lot going on today. Don’t want to make no excuses but it definitely was a tough day,” he said.
Bogaerts played only shortstop in his first three seasons in the minors and for most of 2013 before getting 10 games at third base with Triple A Pawtucket to prepare him for a utility role with the Red Sox.
Bogaerts handled third base well last season, particularly in the postseason. But the team committed to him at shortstop over the offseason, to a point that Bogaerts was told not to bother taking ground balls at third base during spring training.
After a rough start to the season, Bogaerts had played better in recent weeks. He showed increased lateral range and better accuracy on his throws. Infield coach Brian Butterfield said that while Bogaerts still had work to do, there was improvement.
Now, once Drew returns, Bogaerts may play only occasional games at shortstop. He was asked how frustrating that is, given the time spent learning the position.
“I don’t know what to say on that one. I worked so hard at being there,” he said. “Just now I started feeling comfortable.”
Manager John Farrell met with Bogaerts before the game and part of his message is that the organization still sees Bogaerts as a shortstop, particularly with Drew signed only through the end of the season.
Does Bogaerts believe that?
“We’ll see. I’ll come in here day by day and see where I’m playing,” he said. “I’m just happy and thankful to have a jersey on with the Red Sox logo in front.”
Bogaerts did not learn about Drew returning to the team until he arrived at Fenway Park Tuesday.
“What can I say? They thought that we’re a better team with him,” Bogaerts said. “I’ll keep taking my grounders at short. I’ll take it day by day and see what position I’m playing that particular day.”
Bogaerts was 1 for 3 with a walk. He is 9 of his last 25 and has a .750 OPS, third on the team behind David Ortiz and Mike Napoli.
Ortiz has 50 career home runs against the Blue Jays, his most against any team. Only Alex Rodriguez (56) and Manny Ramirez (54) have more against Toronto. Ortiz has hit 33 home runs at Rogers Centre, his most at any park other than Fenway. Ortiz was 0 for 4 with a walk Tuesday night and is 3 for 17 on the homestand without an RBI . . . Burke Badenhop pitched 1⅓ scoreless innings. He has gone 18 innings without giving up an earned run . . . A.J. Pierzynski was out of the lineup for the third time in the last five games as David Ross started against Toronto lefthander J.A. Happ. Ross was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts.
Red Sox pitchers Craig Breslow, Chris Capuano, and Andrew Miller will join Toronto players R.A. Dickey and Adam Lind at a clinic with autistic students at the Nasoba Learning Group in Bedford on Wednesday. The MLB Players Association and its Players Trust foundation is organizing the event . . . Breslow reported on Twitter that his charity wine tasting event on Monday raised $300,000 for the Strike Three Foundation he heads. The foundation supports children’s cancer research . . . Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers will play at Fenway Park Aug. 30. Tickets go on sale June 7 at redsox.com/tompetty . . . Pedro Martinez, a special assistant to general manager Ben Cherington, was in uniform before the game shagging fly balls during batting practice.Peter Abraham can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.