BOSTON -- Xander Bogaerts jogged in from right field and walked down the steps of the home dugout at Fenway Park for the first time on Tuesday afternoon.
The Red Sox's top prospect wasn't expecting about 25 reporters, many holding video cameras with bright lights attached. But that's part of the gig as Boston's shortstop of the future. He understands it. Always has.
Hopeful of making his first appearance at Fenway during a three-game series with the Orioles that began Tuesday, Bogaerts handled some difficult questions with grace and glee.
"I guess it's something natural for me," Bogaerts said.
Even with Orioles left-hander Wei-Yin Chen on the mound for on Tuesday, manager John Farrell kept the right-handed-hitting Bogaerts out of the lineup in favor of the left-handed-hitting Stephen Drew. Chen has held left-handers to a .191 average this year, compared to a .262 average against right-handers.
"I'm not going to turn away from Stephen Drew," Farrell said. "He's been a very good player for us. And probably Game 7 after he came back from the DL to now, he's been one of our most consistent hitters. He's been a very good shortstop defensively for us. And I just don't want to let the splits of a given starter determine and cause us to turn away from a guy who has been very good for us."
Bogaerts, who entered as a defensive replacement in the Red Sox's 13-2 rout, understood the decision.
"These guys played 120 games without me," he said. "I'm just here to contribute and do the best I can to win some games while I'm in there."