Newly acquired infielder Ryan Roberts arrived at Fenway Park this afternoon and spoke about officially being a member of the Red Sox.
“Very excited, it’s a blessing to be here,” Roberts said. “I feel just very blessed to be here and a part of this organization. Played against the Red Sox for a few years and to actually put on a uniform, it gives you a different feeling so very excited about that and hopefully I can add anything they need. I’ve been fortunate enough to play everywhere, in a lot of positions, so hopefully my versatility can play a part in anything they need.”
Roberts was asked about playing at Fenway Park, which appears to be ideally suited for his righthanded swing.
“I hope so. It’s a great place to hit due to the Monster out there you can miss a ball and still get a hit out of it,” he said. “So I’m not looking to do anything, pepper the wall or anything special, I just want to stay up the middle of the field, go with my approach and not really change anything.”
Roberts, who has primarily played third base and second base, was asked what he brings to the table defensively.
“I’ve been fortunate to play everywhere, I feel comfortable everywhere on the diamond,” Roberts said. “I’m not going to claim to be the best at every position but I do feel comfortable, I make mistakes like everybody else, but I feel comfortable playing everywhere and confident that I can get a job done if needed.”
Defensively, Roberts has primarily played third base (217 games, 195 starts) and second base (197 games, 148 starts), while also appearing in left field (36 games, 24 starts), first base (3 games), shortstop (1 game), and right field (1 game).
He was asked what it’s been like waiting to be signed since parting with the Cubs at the end of spring training.
“If I had to relate it best I’d say it’s like the Bud Light commercial where they just pick a guy up and they just take him on a wild crazy night and journey,” he said. “It’s kind of been my deal here. It’s been a crazy journey, it’s been an experience I’ve never dealt with before, it’s long days, sometimes days go by really fast, my days go by really slow but it’s been a nice ride and learning experience. Hopefully I just try to take everyday with a sound mind, calmness, and trust that God is going to put me in a position on the right team.”
Roberts spoke about battling astigmatism issues with his eyes, something that now appears to be behind him.
“Long story short I had astigmatism in both eyes,” he said. “My left eye was 20/15 which is pretty good and my right eye was 20/25. I went into spring training this year. I did have contacts and glasses but didn’t really wear them… I went into spring training this year, my eyesight on my left was 20/14.2, my right eye was 20/14.3. I didn’t do anything, just same old routine. I didn’t wear glasses, I didn’t stick with it, I just tried to trust that all I’ve done was see baseballs and just trust that I could stick with that and God blessed me to change my eyesight.”
Red Sox manager John Farrell explained the decision to acquire Roberts and how he might be used.
“We’re looking at a little bit of a platoon-type situation at third base in the short run,” Farrell said. “Ryan’s here because we didn’t feel like the time was right for Garin Cecchini, even though he’s put up some good at-bats, there’s still development to be had defensively. And more importantly the righthanded bat just helps balance out our lineup…
“He’s got some right-handed power. I feel like the swing is built or is certainly advantageous for this ballpark. I wouldn’t read into that his addition means we found out something else about Will Middlebrooks in a lengthier stay on the DL. We feel like every game is important and this gives us the opportunity to put the best team on the field given the matchup of the starting pitcher that night.”
Ryan, who also goes by the nickname “Tatman” due to his having more tattoos than any other player in baseball, was asked if we planned to add a Red Sox themed tattoo. He told the assembled media that new MLB rules prevent him from adding a Red Sox tattoo.
To make room for Roberts on the 25-man roster, infielder Brock Holt — who was called up for one game yesterday — was optioned to Pawtucket. To make room for Roberts on the 40-man roster, knuckleballer Steven Wright was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.