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Bogaerts will slide over to third base

Bogaerts will slide over to third base

BOSTON -- With shortstop Stephen Drew agreeing to a one-year deal that could have him playing for the Red Sox again before the end of the month, Xander Bogaerts will soon slide over to third base.

The Red Sox had hoped that Bogaerts could be their starting shortstop for this season and beyond, but the club's struggles -- and the recent injury to third baseman Will Middlebrooks -- led to the reacquisition of Drew.

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Manager John Farrell spoke with Bogaerts about the move before Tuesday's game.

"He said that he felt we're a better team with [Drew]," said Bogaerts. "I guess that's why they went out and get him."

Though Bogaerts was hardly sulking, he clearly had some disappointment.

"My heart is always at shortstop, but they felt we're a better team with him, so as I said, that's why they went out and got him," said Bogaerts. "And I was just feeling so good over there. But they made the decision that they have to make."

Bogaerts wound up making two errors in Tuesday's 7-4 loss to the Blue Jays, giving him six for the season.

Drew made just eight errors in 516 chances last season.

"I try to stay focused, separate defense and offense, but tonight was a tough one. A lot going on," said Bogaerts. "I don't want to make no excuses, but it was definitely a tough day."

Against lefties, Bogaerts will likely get his share of starts at shortstop, particularly when Middlebrooks returns from the disabled list.

Bogaerts and Drew have played on the left side of the infield together before. Bogaerts was the starting third baseman for the final eight games of last year's postseason, beginning with Game 5 of the American League Championship Series.

"I kind of did it last year, so I don't think it will be a big problem," Bogaerts said. "The only thing is, you've just got to get your work in at the position you're playing as best as you can."

"There's going to be some repetition to get back acclimated to third base, and that's one of the things we talked about earlier today," Farrell said. "We do have a period of time to take care of some early work so when Stephen's arrival does happen, we can move him back to that position.

"We still believe there's a good athlete there. There's going to be differences to angles, to the length of different types of ground balls, the hops in certain plays, but we feel like he's going to be able to handle that."

While it's easy to think that the 21-year-old will be discouraged by the news, Farrell believes Bogaerts will take it in stride.

"No, not in that way at all, because he's still going to get everyday play. It was more just to be clear for our reasons for bringing Stephen back, what our plan is going forward short term and long term," Farrell said. "Xander is a very logical thinker and it was important to have clarity in his mind and not wonder what's around the corner for him."

Bogaerts is hitting .270 with two home runs and seven RBIs.

"We still see Xander as a shortstop," said Farrell. "That was explained very clearly to Xander. This shouldn't take away, in his mind, what our long-term view of him is. Xander is still a very good-looking young player and a good-looking young shortstop."

At some point, Bogaerts hopes he can call shortstop his primary home again.

"I definitely view myself as shortstop. I keep saying that every day," Bogaerts said, "but I guess now I'll be on the other side."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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