BOSTON -- Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said it is not out of the question that top prospect Xander Bogaerts, recently promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket, will be called to the big leagues this season.
"You know, I've always kind of felt like there's no such thing as a prospect in Triple-A," Cherington said. "Once you get to Triple-A, you're either ready to help the big league team or you're not. And us, we're finding out about the guys at Triple-A now, who's ready and who isn't.
"We felt like Xander had done enough in Double-A to warrant a promotion. He spent some time there last year and went back this year and really improved in areas he needed to. He certainly improved in strike zone management this year. He's played a consistent shortstop. We know he's a threat with the bat. We just felt like it was time for him to face Triple-A pitching, guys that do different things.
"So he'll get some at bats there, we'll see where we are. Once you get to Triple-A it's sort of an extension of the big league team and you're no longer a prospect. You're either at Triple-A or ready to help us in the big leagues."
* Cherington said the Sox have yet to revisit talks with Dustin Pedroia regarding a long-term contract extension, but indicated that it ranks high on the team's to-do list at the right time. Cherington broached the subject with Pedroia's agents, Sam and Seth Levinson, last winter.
"As you know, I'm not going to comment on any contract issue with a player," he said. "Speaking generally about Dustin, he's certainly a guy we think very highly of, and he's a huge part of the organization, not just this team. He represents a lot of what we're all about.
"It's our sincere hope he's here for a long time, that's all I can say. We've got a good enough relationship with Dustin and his representatives that those conversations will happen over time. At the right time, we'll just have to see down the road what comes of it.
"He's a very valuable player. He shows up every day in all sorts of ways. We're very lucky he's on our side. There's nothing going on right now. The relationships are good enough, I think everyone understands what's at stake and there will be a time to have the conversations again and see where they go. We have great respect for him."
"John is trying to put all three guys in the best position to succeed. We believe in all three of them. We think we're a better team with all three of them.
"It's still early enough in the season that's the right course for us. Obviously, it's a bit of a challenge for the players. It's easier to show up at the ballpark every day knowing you're in the lineup, and that's not the case right now. We'll do best we can communicating with them every day. We need all three to be good, to be the best they can be."
* On the race in the American League East:
"You know, the division's not really that different than everyone thought it would be. It's a jumble and I don't think anyone knew exactly what the order was going to be. But it's very competitive, we knew it was going to be competitive. And I still think the teams that end up on top are going to be the ones that stay the healthiest, get the best starting pitching and make the best in-season adjustments. So we're going to try to do that and time will tell."
* On how surprised he is that Mike Napoli's hip condition has not surfaced to date, and what the implications of that might be going forward:
"We're certainly pleased by it," he said. "Once he got into spring training, he looked so good physically, he really didn't have any issues. Keep in mind, it wasn't a symptom-based issue before; it was something we found on an MRI. Nobody, including Mike, really knew what it meant, and we had to get him here to find out.
"From the first day of spring training he has not missed any time. He's been available. He's played a lot. He's been out of the lineup, but it hasn't been because of the hip. So he's proven he can play a lot, so sure, that's information we didn't have in the offseason. Again, we're mostly really focused on let's play the games, win as many as we can, and we'll pick up the conversation [on the future] after the season."
* Cherington also said that Daniel Bard may be back pitching for Double-A Portland within a week or so.