Extra Bases

Rizzo provides a taste of the future

Baseball scouts have a language all their own. Some prospects, for instance, have a “good face.” It makes no damn sense, of course. But old-timer amateur scouts swear they can tell the better prospects based on how a kid looks.

Which brings us to Anthony Rizzo. He’s 6-foot-3, 220 pounds and has a good face. If you were casting a baseball movie, he would be your big first baseman.

Rizzo overcame lymphoma two years ago and hit just under .300 in Class A ball last season, belting 12 home runs for Greenville and Salem. Baseball American tabbed him the organization’s No. 8 prospect.

It showed today. He started at first base against the Rays and was 3 for 5 with a home run that threatened to knock down a light tower in right field. The player development people wanted Terry Francona and his coaches to get a look at Rizzo and they were suitably impressed.

“Pretty swing,” Francona said. “It’s fun to see guys like that.”

Rizzo is 20 and is standing at the far side of the Theo Epstein Bridge with Casey Kelly, Jose Iglesias, Ryan Kalish, Josh Reddick and the rest of them. Come 2012, he’ll be knocking on the door and based on the looks of him, he’ll be knocking hard.

“It felt like Greenville today,” said Rizzo, who roomed with Kelly last season. “I was playing first and Casey was pitching.”

As for the home run, Rizzo pronounced it “surreal” and tried to play it off, saying he ran into one.

They’re always humble in the movies, too.


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