Anderson assigned to Minors camp
First baseman among six who depart Sox's clubhouse
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Lars Anderson hadn't even begun the business of cleaning out his locker on Tuesday when Red Sox teammate Jacoby Ellsbury sidled over to say his farewells.
"I feel like I'm never going to see you again," Anderson said, laughing.
But the Red Sox certainly hope that's not true.
Anderson and five other Sox prospects made the short trip to the team's Minor League complex on Tuesday, settling into their home for the rest of Spring Training. Boston assigned Anderson and two outfielders, Josh Reddick and Zach Daeges, to Minor League camp, optioned left-hander Hunter Jones to Triple-A Pawtucket, catcher Mark Wagner to Double-A Portland and left-hander Felix Doubront to Class A Salem, then spent Tuesday morning singing the praises of all six.
"We look at you and we see what you're going to do," manager Terry Francona recalled saying to Anderson earlier this spring. "It's exciting."
Widely considered the top overall prospect in Boston's farm system, Anderson hit .182 in 22 Grapefruit League at-bats this spring, perhaps pressing a bit too much at times. His reassignment to Minor League camp came out of necessity, more than anything -- Minor Leaguers will begin playing games against other organizations on Wednesday, and the Sox consequently needed to flesh out that roster.
But five weeks with the big league club were not lost on the 21-year-old first baseman.
"If you're an astrophysicist and you're hanging out with a bunch of the best astrophysicists, you're going to become a little more knowledgeable," Anderson said, his cerebral outlook masked behind a measure of California cool. "These guys are the best at what they do, so how could you not feed off their energy, see how they work, ask them questions and learn from that?"
Anderson did all of those things, regardless of his personal lack of results.
"Baseball is hard, but I've known that for a while," Anderson said.
Reddick, for his part, might have reason to disagree. Billed as more of a contact hitter than Anderson, Reddick produced 11 hits in 22 spring at-bats, including two doubles and a triple. And at 21, merely months older than Anderson, his potential is arguably just as high.
"It felt great to come out here and actually hit the big league pitching," Redding said. "You're a little kid growing up and you say, 'Wow, this is amazing. How do they do it?' And then you come out here and you succeed a little bit at this level, and you say, 'Wow, maybe I do have a chance to compete with these guys.'"
And maybe he does. Francona certainly believes so, lauding all six of the players who were shipped out to Minor League camp on Tuesday. More will follow -- young pitchers Daniel Bard and Michael Bowden aren't likely to make the team, despite their pedigrees and their expectations -- transferring more talent from City of Palms Park to Minor League camp.
But if the Red Sox have their way, all of them will eventually be back.
"I was actually impressed with everybody," Francona said. "They behaved themselves, they worked hard. There's always that fine line you walk as a young kid in Major League camp of showing what you can do on the field but not being so loud in the clubhouse. I think they were all well-prepared and handled themselves really well."
Boston bits: Dustin Pedroia played soft toss and took grounders Tuesday morning, and he should take batting practice for the first time on Thursday. He could be back playing by Saturday -- but with the Sox set to make a long trip across the state to Jupiter, Fla., Sunday seems a more likely option. ... Brad Penny will throw two innings in a Minor League game Wednesday, Tim Wakefield will throw up to four innings at that complex on Thursday and Justin Masterson will start there on Saturday. ... Jason Bay wowed his teammates in Tuesday's game when he hit a home run over the batter's-eye screen in center field. "That ball was well-hit," Francona said. ... The Brewers claimed right-handed pitcher Wes Littleton off waivers from the Red Sox on Tuesday. Littleton, 26, came to the Sox in a trade last November.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.