Red Sox

Jarren Duran ‘just focusing on today’ as Red Sox debut looms

Duran joins the Red Sox after tearing through Triple-A pitching this season and playing with Team USA.

Jarren Duran Red Sox
Jarren Duran. Julio Aguilar/Getty Images
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Jarren Duran says he got called into Worcester Red Sox manager Billy McMillon’s office by coach Bruce Crabbe, who had some exciting news to deliver.

“‘They opened up a spot on the Olympic roster for you,'”
Duran recalls Crabbe saying. The 24-year-old outfielder had just helped Team USA qualify for the Olympics, after all.

But that wasn’t all.

“Then [Crabbe] goes, ‘But you could actually go to the big leagues if you want to do that,'” he said. “That could be a side job for you.”

And that’s how Duran found out the Red Sox were hoping to call him up to the big leagues.

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After that, he says he called his father, Octavio, the man who pushed him and got him into baseball in the first place: “It only felt right to call him first.”

He said his parents, his uncles, and his girlfriend will be on hand to watch the No. 3 overall prospect in the Red Sox organization finally show the big club what he can do starting this weekend.

He was scheduled to make his Major League debut against the rival New York Yankees, but it’s unclear when Duran will make his first appearance after Thursday’s game was postponed due to COVID protocols.

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Though Duran did have a slight sense of humor about that — “You couldn’t have started me off somewhere a little easier? You’re going to throw me right into Yankee Stadium?” he joked — he says it hasn’t quite hit him yet that he’s a Major League baseball player.

“Everyone keeps telling me ‘You seem a little too calm for being called up,'” he said. “I still feel like it hasn’t hit me yet. Probably not until I see the Yankees across the way from us and realize I’m going to be playing.”

When he does get in the game, Duran says he’s mainly hoping to “not get in the way” of the Red Sox’s surprising start.

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“Get on base for J.D. and some of the big guys,” he said. “Just keep it rolling. They’re killing it right now. So I’m just hoping to sneak in there and just be a little boost of energy at moments when they need me.”

His new manager Alex Cora suggested that they could use him quite a bit, saying Thursday that the team called up Duran with the expectation that he’ll stay with the team the rest of the season.

That will mean plenty of outfield work for Duran, a converted second baseman that has worked hard to master his new craft in the minor leagues.

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It could also give the young outfielder an opportunity to see if his power swing — something he says he’s “still developing” — can play at the big league level. He’s hit 15 home runs in Triple-A this year after not hitting more than five at any level before that, including college, back when he was a “simple line-drive hitter.”

That player came into the Red Sox organization as a seventh-round pick. He now arrives in the big leagues as a rising talent with still-untapped potential. But he says his slightly more humble professional baseball beginnings aren’t offering him any extra motivation now.

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“I don’t think it matters where you get drafted,” he said. “If you work your butt off, you can always exceed expectations.”

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