4/20/2014 1:52 A.M. ET
No slowing Sox prospect Betts at Double-A
By Maureen Mullen / Special to MLB.com
There are few prospects in baseball who had a bigger breakout in 2013 than Red Sox second baseman Mookie Betts. Ranked No. 60 on the MLB.com Top 100 Prospects list and No. 6 on the Red Sox's Top 20, Betts is proving that he can swing the bat just as well in the upper levels of the system.
Playing for Portland in the Double-A Eastern League, Betts went 4-for-5 on Saturday in a 6-1 win over New Britain. Hitting from the leadoff spot, Betts homered and scored three runs.
Betts has hit safely in 12 of the 13 games he's played in so far, with seven of them of the multihit variety. He has an eight-game hitting streak going and now currently leads all Minor League hitters with his .453 batting average. He's tied for sixth in both runs scored (17) and hits (24).
In 2013, Betts played across both A ball levels and was one of the few Minor Leaguers in baseball to finish with at least 15 home runs and 30 stolen bases. He finished the year with a .314/.417/.506 line before going on to the Arizona Fall League, playing in the Fall Stars Game and finishing with a .271 showing to go along with eight more steals.
In his 13 total games in 2014, Betts is hitting .453/.492/.717 with four steals. He was named the Eastern League Player of the Week on April 14. He leads the league in batting and on-base percentage, while standing third in slugging.
-- Jonathan Mayo
Sizemore makes first career appearance in right
BOSTON -- Grady Sizemore made his first career appearance in right field on Saturday afternoon against the Orioles at Fenway Park. A nine-year veteran, Sizemore has primarily played center field during his big league career. He made his left field debut on April 10 in Yankee Stadium.
Sizemore played two games in right while in the Minor Leagues -- one in 2000, his first year playing pro ball, and one in 2001.
"Both corner outfields are kind of new for me," Sizemore said. "So I'm just going to try to get in as much work as I can early and just put yourself in a good position. It's one of those things where you make the adjustments, and I think if you can play outfield you can play. I think here more than anything it's just working the walls. Left field is a different situation, and right field's a little different. So just make sure you know how the ball's going to bounce and put yourself in a good spot."
This is not about finding out what Sizemore has to offer, said Red Sox manager John Farrell.
"I wouldn't say it's about taking different looks at him," Farrell said. "Mike Carp's swinging the bat well, Jackie [Bradley] has solidified defense in center field for us. So with Grady it's a matter of pushing him over and using his range a little bit more than Mike Carp's would be in right field.
"I wouldn't say that [Sizemore is] completely acclimated to left field yet. [Friday] was the first time he's played left field in Fenway Park. So there's still repetition needed. Yet at the same time, we feel like with his athleticism he should be able to play the corners with equal effectiveness."
It's also the first time Sizemore is playing in a day game after a night game this season, a reflection on his health status.
"Very good," Farrell said. "He's responded well. There's been days when he's had an off-day where he felt like he could continue on, so all those are positive signs."
Sizemore, who joined the Sox as a free agent in January, said bouncing between the outfield spots is not difficult, despite his lack of experience in the corners.
"It's fine," he said. "[The mental] aspect is not really an issue. I kind of knew coming into the situation [with the Red Sox] that I was probably going to be used in multiple spots, so I kind of prepared for that this spring and I told them I'd be ready no matter where you put me."
Fenway Park's right field can be intimidating, though, especially in a day game with the sun.
"You can get as much work as you can get, but you still got to get game action," Sizemore said. "It's completely different. So just get in the right spot and try to just be on your toes, get good jumps and put yourself in the right position."
Sizemore didn't play right in a Spring Training game, but he did get some work there during camp.
"I think I took reps as much as I can early on in camp," he said. "And when the season starts kind of just go to your position on that day. I'll be fine."
Regular right fielder Shane Victorino, who's on the disabled list with a right hamstring strain, is starting a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday. Sizemore said he didn't have a chance to discuss with Victorino the quirks and crannies of Fenway's right field.
"Not really," Sizemore said. "But we did all this work in Spring Training. The dimensions are the same, so it's just a matter of putting those reps into the game."
Victorino goes 0-for-3 in first rehab game
BOSTON -- Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino, who has been on the disabled list all season after straining his right hamstring in the final Spring Training game, went 0-for-3 in his first rehab game for Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday. He played right field for six innings.
Victorino will get an off-day on Sunday and then play for Pawtucket again Monday and Tuesday. The Red Sox will re-evaluate his progress at that point.
Victorino was also slowed by a bout of the flu, which caused him to lose 8-12 pounds, while he was on the DL.
• Farrell said Saturday is "kind of a big day" for third baseman Will Middlebrooks as he progresses from a right calf strain which has had him on the disabled list since April 5. Middlebrooks could possibly begin a rehab assignment early in the week.
"He has another work day scheduled to stress the calf and see how he responds to that," Farrell said. "Today is kind of a big day in his progression. If he comes through today in good shape, then we could be looking at something Monday, Tuesday possibly to get him out."
• Shortstop Xander Bogaerts was out of the starting lineup against right-hander Bud Norris on Saturday. It is a day off for Bogaerts, Farrell said. Switch-hitter Jonathan Herrera got the start and batted eighth.
"After a couple of long ballgames, late travel, we felt like today was the first day down for him," Farrell said. "He's played every game. So a chance to get another left-handed bat in the lineup as well."
• David Ross got the start on Saturday, with A.J. Pierzynski getting a day off after a night game.
• Red Sox relievers have allowed just three runs in 16 2/3 innings over the last five games for a 1.62 ERA, improving the bullpen's overall ERA to 2.55, the best in the American League and fifth in MLB.
• Jackie Bradley Jr. turned 24 on Saturday.
Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.