October 20, 2013

MLB: They’ve come a long way

By Kevin Thomas Portland Press Herald

(Continued from page 1)

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Xander Bogaerts started the season as a member of the Portland Sea Dogs. He is now a contributing member of a Boston Red Sox team on the brink of winning a third World Series title in the last 10 years.

AP

With the count two strikes and two balls on Bogaerts in his first at-bat, he let a slider go by, just off the plate.

“Most people would swing at that pitch. I don’t know how I didn’t swing at it,” Bogaerts said with his usual candor. “From that pitch on, I started smiling. I knew it was going to be a good day.”

Bogaerts doubled his next time up and scored. In the big seventh inning, Bogaerts walked again and scored on Shane Victorino’s game-winning grand slam.

“He’s beyond his years,” Boston manager John Farrell said of Bogaerts. “He has a bright, bright future.”

Farrell summoned Workman in the sixth inning when Boston looked in trouble. Detroit led 2-1 and had runners on first and third base, with no outs. Dangerous hitters Jhonny Peralta and Alex Avila were the next batters.

Workman got Peralta to ground into a double-play – on a heads-up defensive effort by second-baseman Dustin Pedroia – and then struck out Avila.

In the seventh inning, Workman allowed a few baserunners, but also got two outs.

“Workman tonight was outstanding,” Farrell said.

Workman is confident for a rookie, a confidence that he demonstrated at Hadlock Field – and now at Fenway.

“I believed I could get it done in that spot, and I did,” Workman said. “I made pitches that kept us in the game.”

Soon, Workman was rushing onto the field, joining his teammates, including Bogaerts. They hugged, cheered, gave interviews, and eventually joined in the champagne-spraying celebration in the clubhouse.

Their one-year, head-spinning journey is almost complete, from April games at Hadlock Field to World Series games in late October.

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