Marrero eager to get started
A native of Davie, Fla., who grew up rooting for the Marlins, Deven Marrero stood near the top step of the Red Sox dugout at Fenway Park Wednesday afternoon.
The visiting Marlins were conducting batting practice, and Marrero was officially a member of the Red Sox organization.
“This is my hometown team now,’’ said Marrero, who donned a No. 17 jersey after receiving a $2.05 million signing bonus. The Arizona State shortstop was selected 24th overall earlier this month.
“This is where I want to be. And I’m here right now and I’m excited.’’
Marrero, who reported to short-season Single A Lowell Thursday, was eager to get his professional career underway. He met with Sox manager Bobby Valentine and several players, took grounders at short, and peppered the left-field wall with several line drives before launching a few into the Green Monster seats.
“I got a little taste of what the future is going to be like,’’ said Marrero, 21, who hit .325 with 37 doubles, 11 triples, 12 home runs, and 95 RBIs in three seasons at Arizona State. “I just wanted to have fun out here and show everybody my talent.’’
Marrero offered a glimpse of that last summer for Cotuit in the Cape Cod League, earning All-Star honors after hitting .326.
“The Cape League was a great experience. I had a great host family,’’ Marrero said. “You had 3,000 fans at every game and that was unbelievable. And most of the players there are the future of the game.’’
Marrero was excited about the prospect of one day playing alongside another Sun Devils star, DustinPedroia.
“I mean, that guy is the best at what he does and he does it the right way,’’ said Marrero, who met with Pedroia Wednesday. “Being from Arizona State, that’s something that would be a dream come true right there - to play alongside that guy up the middle and to turn two with that guy and just have fun with him.
“He’s a great ballplayer and he’s someone I want to be like, definitely.’’
Asked if Pedroia is revered in Tempe, Ariz., Marrero replied, “Oh, he’s a legend there. When he goes there, he lets you know, too. I try telling him I’m the best shortstop to ever play at Arizona State, but he had a great career there, too.
“[It’s] one that I wanted to follow up and hopefully I can follow up his career here.’’
The Sox have two unsigned picks out of their top 10 selections - University of Florida hurlers Brian Johnson (1st round, 31 overall) and Austin Maddox (3d round, 118th overall).
Pat Light, a 6-foot-6-inch, 215-pound righthander from Monmouth University, wasted little time signing after he was selected 37th overall as a compensatory pick, reporting to Lowell in time for the Spinners’ home-opening 2-1 victory Monday.
“I didn’t want to come in as that first-round guy everyone thinks is a cocky kid,’’ said Light. “So I just kept to myself and tried to learn the way and meet the players. It’s been good, guys are great, couldn’t be more excited to be here.’’
Light, who compiled an 8-3 record and 2.40 ERA in 14 starts his junior season at Monmouth and set season records for strikeouts (102) and innings (101 1/3), is eager to pitch for Lowell, but he is being brought along slowly.
“What I like about him, just being around him a short time - and I’m going out on a limb - but Matt Barnes last year didn’t pitch here at all but you could tell he was always chomping at the bit,’’ said Lowell pitching coach Paul Abbott. “Today, when I saw [Light], he was going, ‘Am I throwing a side today?’ and he knows he can’t, but you can tell he’s an aggressive guy and he always wants to be out there and he wants to compete, which is what you want.’’
Light said he benefited from his experience last summer playing in the Cape League for Chatham.
“I got beat up as a starter in the beginning there and I truly ended up having more fun playing,’’ he said. “It’s something you don’t do often, where you get beat up and end up having a good time, so I think it definitely prepared me. You don’t see that kind of baseball in the Northeast [Conference].’’
The experience only motivated Light in his final season at Monmouth.
“I was throwing well my sophomore year, especially at the end of the year,’’ said Light, who battled blisters last season, which affected his slider and forced him to develop his curveball. “Then you go to the Cape and you’re shellshocked. They come at you and they don’t care who you are. It fueled me to get better. They got after me and it motivated me for the whole year.’’
Outfielders Juan Carlos Linares and Jackie Bradley Jr. were promoted Thursday, Linares to Triple A Pawtucket and Bradley to Double A Portland. Linares, 27, ranked second in the Eastern League with a .333 average and had eight home runs and 33 RBIs in 58 games. Bradley, 22, led Salem with an organization-best .359 average and was named to the Carolina League All-Star team . . . Barnes and Salem shortstop Xander Bogaerts were selected Thursday to represent the Red Sox in the Futures Game July 8 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. Barnes, the former University of Connecticut standout from Bethel, Conn., who is pitching for Salem, was named to the United States roster, while Bogaerts, a native of Aruba, was selected to the World team.
Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.