Saturday, February 28, 2009

Anderson already one of the guys

Highlight from the morning workouts: Top prospect Lars Anderson, alternating ground balls with Kevin Youkilis at first base, made a nice scoop on a sharp ground ball to his left and threw to second base.

Even as shortstop Jed Lowrie was fielding the throw, though, he was yelling, "Get back, Lars!"

Anderson didn't quite get back, in part because Youkilis was standing on first base. But Lowrie's throw sailed past both and bounced up against the netting in front of the first-base dugout.

"Give him a good throw!" Youkilis yelled out.

"I did give him a good throw!" Lowrie yelled back. "It almost hit him in the face!"

Anderson, who's scheduled to be the designated hitter in this afternoon's game against Northeastern, went through fielding drills with Lowrie, Youkilis and Pedroia -- the three players with whom, it appears, he makes up the future of the Red Sox infield.

And he's taking full advantage of every chance he gets to spend time with those who have been there before.

"Youkilis has been really great," Anderson said. "We were talking today while we were doing our defensive work about hitting, situational hitting, what we're trying to do. He's been great. He's been really helpful. All the guys have been cool."

When it came time for batting practice, though, he hit with fellow minor leaguers Josh Reddick and Zach Daeges.

"Those are the guys you talk to the most because that's where your comfort level is," said Anderson, unaware that Reddick was making faces behind his back.

His batting-practice session itself was fascinating to watch. He started with a couple of slow ground balls to second base with a half-speed swing, and he gradually built up his bat speed and power until his line drives were almost drilling the Northeastern players stretching down the right-field line. And after every set of swings, he had a conversation with hitting coach Dave Magadan.

It's all part of helping him make the adjustment from top prospect to major-league-ready.

"We told him to get as much out of this camp as he can, and I think he's trying to do that," manager Terry Francona said.

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