FORT MYERS, Fla. — Reiterating much of what he told reporters when he first arrived in Fort Myers Monday, Red Sox outfielder Jason Bay talked about a whirlwind three months in Boston after being traded from Pittsburgh; his indifference about where he bats in the Sox lineup; and his openness toward staying in Boston after his contract expires following the 2009 season.
Asked what he most wanted to improve upon this season, Bay mentioned how he stole 21 bases for Pittsburgh in 2005. He joked that he wouldn’t be competing with Jacoby Ellsbury for the team lead in that category, but he’d like to get back toward that number after stealing only 14 bases combined his last two seasons. Bay noted that pitchers tend to forget about a player like him, who might be better known for his power numbers while batting in the middle of a lineup.
Some more from the Q&A:
(On joining the Red Sox last season)
“The funny thing was, I felt like I was in Boston for, honestly, two weeks. It was really weird, I was there for almost three months. That’s a good thing because time flies when you’re having fun. Sometimes you get to that point in the season and people tell you it drags on. That was definitely not the case. Looking back, the first few weeks, I remember two or three games. Where’d the time go? All of a sudden we’re back at spring training. My reflection period seemed to go a lot quicker than I thought it would … It all blurs into one.”
(On the Sox’ lineup for 2009)
“I think that there’s four or five guys who can hit third or fourth in any other lineup, then there’s a situation where you try to jam guys in there. No one is going to mind where they hit, as long as you get a chance, and that’s all we’re looking for. We got speed at the top, power in the middle, and guys at the bottom that I think other teams don’t have luxury of having those bats at the bottom. You’re looking for balance, especially in the division we play in and the league we play in. It’s an offensive league and if you don’t have the offense to keep up, you won’t make it.”
(On where he’d like to hit in the lineup)
“I don’t know, I haven’t talked to Tito [Francona] or anybody about it, but we have a lot of guys who can fill the void. It’s the least of my worries. I don’t mind fourth, sixth, or seventh. As I said, you’re going to get as many opportunities to drive in runs and score runs as anywhere else. We’ll see how it plays out. Guys are banged up, we’ll see how they come back. Last year for me, it was mix and match depending on who was pitching, here and there. It’s not like playing a different position, you know you’re hitting. Once the game starts, it doesn’t matter.”
(Does a flexible lineup spot bother him?)
“Maybe to some people … It doesn’t bother me in the least.”
(On replacing Manny Ramirez)
“Ignorance is bliss, I guess. I came over here and had no idea of the transgressions or what went on. It was like, ‘Hey, I’m the new left fielder.’ I just showed up. I got traded to Pittsburgh for Brian Giles, not the same type of player, but the same situation for the most part. What can you do? People are going to talk, bring that stuff up, and understandably so.”