WATCHING LARS AND THE GANG

     Monday was a beautiful day in southwest Florida.  I took the hour drive from Fort Myers to Port Charlotte to watch the PawSox face the Durham Bulls.  Since many of the players that will fill out the rosters are still with the respective parent clubs, it’s not a true picture of what we may see next month.  Still, it was a great day to watch the PawSox thump Durham, 8-1.  Yamaico Navarro belted a solo home run.  Aaron Bates had two hits and two rbi and Juan Carlos Linares capped it off with a three run homer in the ninth.  Lars Anderson, Bubba Bell and Jose Iglesias also played in the ball game for temporary manager, Kevin Boles.

     I caught up with Anderson after the game and after some goofing around, we got down to business.  He says that it’s a smooth transition going from Big League camp to the PawSox.  “I don’t think there are adjustments, really.  I’m just going to keep on working what I’ve been working on.”  Lars, recently optioned to the PawSox, says camp with Boston had its’ ups and downs.  “It was OK.  I didn’t hit the way I wanted, but I did exceed my expectations, defensively.  Overall, it was a positive experience.”

     Lars was pleased with the recognition he got for his defensive efforts, from none other than Terry Francona.  “A lot of people under rate the importance of first base defense.  People think anyone can play it.  There is a big difference between being a good first baseman and a bad one.  It makes a ton of difference.  You save a lot of errors.  You help the rest of the infield.  Other than the pitcher or catcher, you handle the ball the third most.  When I first started playing, I didn’t take a lot of pride in it.  Now it’s something on my list.”

     Once the top rated prospect in the Red Sox organization, Lars slipped a bit down the depth chart after the trade for Adrian Gonzalez.  He was not satisfied with is offensive performance with the parent club.  Lars isn’t overly concerned.  He knows what he wants to work on.  “I need to be more consistent mechanically and with my thoughts and my approach.  Sometimes, I fall into a trap of trying to fix stuff every day, instead of sticking with something.  More specifically, I need to stay back on the ball.  I’m hitting it on the ground too much.”

     I asked Lars if he could be excited to return to Pawtucket.  Even if he was kidding, I liked his answer.  “Sure man, I get to hang out with you!”

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