Bradley started working out at the team's facility in November, and started hitting in January. He worked with assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez for a good portion of the offseason. "Jackie was dedicated," Rodriguez said. "He listened, too. He was open to what we talked about."
Manager John Farrell has noticed the change in Bradley's approach. "In BP, to me, it seems like there’s more of a willingness to stay in the middle of the field and not look to lift a ball too much," Farrell said. "I think it’s more of his natural swing, which he was drafted with."
Bradley said his swing has been a "work in progress." While it doesn't appear Bradley has a starting role, his defense should make him a useful major-league asset.
The 24-year-old hit .198/.265/.266 over 384 at-bats last year.
"That’s not an element we’re concerned with right now," Cherington said. "He’s done everything we asked him to do from the day we signed him -- going to the minor leagues, big leagues, Arizona [Fall League], Puerto Rico [winter ball] and everything in between. He’s in a position now where he comes to spring training, we met with him, told him, ‘Just be a baseball player and try to get into some kind of baseball normalcy now.’ I don’t expect the number of at-bats he’s had over the last 10 months to be a factor. Normalcy is going to play out in spring training. He has a chance to be a really good major league player. We’re happy he’s here."
Castillo is set to compete with
“There are three prime candidates in that spot,” said Farrell when asked of the center-field competition, per WEEI.com. “If you’re pinning those two positions on Hanley (Ramirez) and Vic (Shane Victorino), what’s left over. That’s where Mookie [Betts], Rusney [Castillo] and Jackie come into play. Individual strength that vary to each person, each player. That’s what it begins to center around. And the durability and the dependability of the guys on the flanks will have some effect to the overall decision in the outfield.”
Farrell highlighted Bradley's strengths as a defender as the reason he can't be counted out of the competition.
“He’s working to establish himself more as an offensive player. In my mind, he’s the best center fielder in baseball and I’m not afraid of saying that,” Farrell said. “He’s an extremely talented guy. There have been some offensive challenges, but don’t deny what he can do and he can play center field as good as anybody.”
Bradley has struggled offensively in his MLB career, batting .196 in 164 games. However, he has been a very strong defender. He has a career .995 fielding percentage in the outfield and committed just one error in 318 chances in 2014.
A rope stretches across the right-handed batter's box at roughly eye level in Bradley's batting cage, and "[s]taying under the line means staying on top of the ball," Rodriguez said Friday. "You’ve got to stay short and through the ball. It’s a target that you visualize, and it forces you to stay on top."
Bradley moved to Naples after last season and has been working out in and around JetBlue Park for more than six weeks. He hit just .198/.265/.266 with one home run, 30 RBI and eight stolen bases in 384 at-bats in 2014.
"I believe that was a learning year for him," Rodriguez said. "All that is behind him. He really wants to do things the right way. I’m very positive that this guy’s going in the right direction."
Bradley will be looking to establish his role this spring in an outfield that could also include Hanley Ramirez, Rusney Castillo, Mookie Betts and Shane Victorino.
|CBSSports.com Player Ranking|
|9/28/2014 vs N.Y. Yankees|
|vs N.Y. Yankees||39||3||0||.182||.077||.077|
|vs Pineda (Career)||2||0||0||0||.333||0|
|Last 7 Games|
|Complete Game Log|
| 5 || 6 |
| 7 || 8 |
| 9 |
| 10 |
| 12 |
| 13 |
| 14 |
| 15 |
| 16 || 17 |
|More Batting Stats|
|Minor League Batting Stats|
|2012||AA-Portland Sea Dogs||61||229||37||62||16||2||6||29||35||49||8||3||.373||.437||.271|
|2012||AFA-Salem Red Sox||67||234||53||84||26||2||3||34||52||40||16||6||.480||.526||.359|
|2013||AAA-Pawtucket Red Sox||80||320||57||88||26||3||10||35||41||75||7||7||.374||.469||.275|
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