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Bogaerts begins transition back to third base

Taking over at shortstop, Drew offers encouragement to young infielder

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CLEVELAND -- The return of shortstop Stephen Drew on Monday night meant that Xander Bogaerts started his first game of the season at third base.

Though Bogaerts could still be the shortstop of the future for the Red Sox, and might even play a bit there this season, he will stick with the hot corner for the time being.

"There's going to be some initial adjustment because of either one less hop or a more reactionary position," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "Our approach in games with the alignment would be, at least in the short term, to have him at third base every day. When Stephen is not in the lineup, we'll have someone else at shortstop, whether that's [Jonathan] Herrera or [Brock] Holt just for a matter of continuity, at least in the first number of games with Xander at third base, just to avoid the bouncing back."

Bogaerts will try to do as much early work as possible in the coming days to reacclimate himself to a position he proved to be adept at last season.

Drew said he spoke with Bogaerts directly about the situation.

"I talked to him, just me and him," said Drew. "I was kind of in the same boat in Arizona with [Craig] Counsell there and me coming up. Basically it's going to hopefully make the team better. That's the reason why they look at it -- going back to last year, he played really well at third. It's not that he can't play short. I just think it makes the club better. We're fine. I talked to him. I know what it felt like when I was that age with Counsell. I gave him my advice there and we're on the same page."

Brock Holt, who has provided continuity in the leadoff position, will play first base until Sunday, when Mike Napoli returns from the disabled list.

When Napoli comes back, Holt could see some action in the outfield while roaming around the infield.

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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