Sunday, March 15, 2009

Rocco Baldelli Living Up To Expectations

Rocco Baldelli is living up to and exceeding all the expectations coach Terry Francona had for him coming into spring training, via ProJo Sports:

Terry Francona had watched Rocco Baldelli from afar for years, and heard good things. He was excited when he heard Boston had acquired him. After a few weeks of seeing him in person, he's realized the reviews were selling Baldelli short.

"Guys get injured, channelopathy, whatever, Then you get a chance to see them every day, and realize, like some of the things they can do, and it gets you excited," Francona said. "He hit that double the other day, to left center field, and that ball just jumped off his bat," he said. The Cumberland native looked excellent again Saturday, hitting a single and a double and notching two RBI as the designated hitter in Boston's 9-8 exhibition loss to the Orioles.

The Red Sox signed Baldelli as a right-handed bat off the bench, with the understanding that because of his disease, he would not be able to play consecutive days. When Baldelli joined the team, he may have pushed himself a little too hard, to show his new teammates that he wasn't trying to avoid responsibility or shirk his part by not playing, Francona said.

"When he first came into camp, I think he was really worried about the perception. He's a really good kid, he wanted to do everything," Francona said. The veterans quickly took him aside and let him know they were with him. "I know [Jason] Varitek talked to him, said, 'Hey, we understand,' " Francona said.

Baldelli is hitting .294 with 4 RBI in 17 spring training at-bats. "I do think he's doing really well."

It's still too early to know how much Baldelli will be able to play during the season. Francona is hoping to move up soon to a schedule where Baldelli plays one day, and then pinch hits the next. Playing full games two days in a row may not be in the cards yet. Regardless, the team understands. "I'm hoping that we'll have him a bunch. But if not, we told him, hey, we're willing to bite the bullet here a little bit," Francona said.

More: Rocco Baldelli

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Thanks for sharing.

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