Minor League Report: Chris Carter
Outfielder with big bat working on improving his defense
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- In his first spring with the Red Sox, Chris Carter would prefer to let his work and his play do the talking for him.
"[My main goal this spring] is to go out and play hard and show the Red Sox that I can play the game of baseball, and hopefully, I can help them," said the soft-spoken switch-hitting first baseman/outfielder/designated hitter the Red Sox acquired to complete the trade that sent Wily Mo Pena to the Washington Nationals.
In four Minor League seasons -- all in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization -- Carter hit .310 with 86 home runs and 370 RBIs in 489 games. Carter, 25, was the Diamondbacks' 17th-round pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft out of Stanford. The Sox acquired him in August from the Nationals immediately after they received him from Arizona, completing the deal.
"The first thing I said was, 'Wow, that's great,'" Carter said of learning of the deal. "[General manager] Theo [Epstein] called me and said, 'We're glad you're a part of this organization,' which was really nice. I was really excited at first, and then I hung up the phone and it kind of sunk in that I got traded to the best team in baseball, [with] a lot of history.
"When I got drafted by the Diamondbacks, I thought I was going to be a Diamondback, and you hear all the time that you're playing for 30 teams out there. And yeah, I guess that's what happened. I'm with another team now. I don't think I could be with a better team."
Carter has also impressed. In his first 13 games this spring, Carter hit .357 with four home runs.
"[He's an] intense person, good hitter," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "We challenged him to, defensively, go out and work hard, because that had been an area in his game that needed work. And also at first base, but because we wanted to get him at-bats, we put him mainly in the outfield. ... That's something that we want him to understand coming into camp that he's got a Major League bat, the defense has to be there also for there to be comfort, because we need to win games. He's a very intelligent kid. He gives you a good day's work."
One thing Carter has been working on this spring is to change the notion that his bat is better than his defense.
"I think they're both equally as important," Carter said. "You can win a game either way, with the glove or with the bat. I work maybe harder on defense, but I do work hard on offense."
Carter grew up in Concord, Calif., a Sox fan, a passion he shares with his father, Bill. He made a trip to Fenway Park while playing in the Cape Cod League. Likely headed to Triple-A Pawtucket to start the season, Carter said he's more than looking forward to a return trip to Fenway wearing a Sox uniform.
"I don't even know how to explain it," he said. "You know how people say 'a dream come true?' It's definitely more than that. It would really mean a lot to me."
They're No. 1: Jason Place, the Sox's No. 1 pick (27th overall) in the 2006 Draft, is progressing nicely in Spring Training, Minor League director Mike Hazen said.
"A lot of the things he worked in Hawaii, he's been able to bring into Spring Training," Hazen said. "He's refining the fundamentals of his swing. He's really worked his butt off lately, and we're happy with how he's coming along."
Place, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound right-hander, hit .214 with 12 home runs and 55 RBIs in 129 games for Class A Greenville in 2007.
Class of '07: Left-hander Nick Hagadone, the Sox's No. 1 pick in the 2007 Draft (55th overall), continues to work on his changeup this spring.
"He's pitched a couple of innings in camp games so far," Hazen said. "He went 1-2-3 in the first inning with a couple of strikeouts, and had a walk in the second. He's developing a good feel for the changeup, which he worked on in instructional league. It's progressing well and he continues to refine it."
Hagadone, ranked the No. 8 prospect in the Sox's system by Baseball America, appeared in 10 games for Class A Lowell in 2007, going 0-1 with a 1.85 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 24 1/3 innings.
Let 'em play: Minor League games start on Friday, with the Sox hosting the teams from the Twins organization. Michael Bowden, Dustin Richardson and Kris Johnson are expected to get the starts.
What they're saying: "It was great. I wasn't in the dugout during the World Series. I actually had to go to the Dominican, but the first two rounds of the playoffs were absolutely unbelievable. I absolutely enjoyed every second of it. I was watching it in Spanish during a tropical storm and wishing I was there. It was brutal, but it was fun to watch. At least I got to see it. I was thinking, 'Yep, I would be stuck here during a tropical storm.' But that's just one of those things you can't control." -- Brandon Moss, who was not on the playoff roster but stayed with the Sox through the first two rounds of the playoffs, leaving before the World Series for winter ball in the Dominican Republic
Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.