Xander Bogaerts planted his feet into the firm clay at Fenway Park and began fielding grounders at third base. As the fans trickled in to watch batting practice, Bogaerts cradled each ball cleanly before firing it across the diamond. He moved to shortstop, his natural position, and returned routine double play throws to first.
It was just his third time at Fenway, and the first time the 20-year-old actually stepped on the field. He couldn’t help but flash a smile. The pristinely manicured setting was nothing like the fields he played on in his native Aruba.
“A lot of rocks in Aruba,” Bogaerts said before Tuesday’s game against the Orioles. “No rocks here. Plain, smooth, a big difference, especially with all the fans. Hopefully I get to see all the fans tonight. Not too many stadiums are big like this in Aruba.” Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.