ST. PETERSBURGH – Alex Verdugo watches closely everything Shohei Ohtani does from the other coast of the United States. The fact that he can pitch and hit will likely earn the Angels’ MVP award. The Red Sox patrolman thinks, why not me?
In fact, who can say it can’t happen? Verdugo’s immediate focus is on helping the Red Sox battle the Rays in the AL Divisional Series, but the 25-year-old patrolman would love the chance to show Boston what he can do on the mound.
“I don’t know if I will be able to launch next year, but in 2023, definitely. I want to show that I can do both, ”Verdugo said on Friday. “Not an Ohtani, who can open and all that. I want to relieve. Get there, help the kids and do something like this. ”
Verdugo’s dream, which he initially confessed in the 2020 camps, has reached the ears of Puerto Rican manager Alex Cora.
Cora said Verdugo recently told her that he would like to visit the Driveline Baseball facility in Kent, Washington, this season break, to dust off his repertoire, which he last used when he was in high school.
“He feels like he can throw 97, 98 mph,” Cora noted. “We say to him: ‘No, you are not going to do that.’ He is improving physically and you want to take care of your body and be ready for the camps ”.
Acquired in the Mookie Betts trade with the Dodgers, Verdugo came to Boston recovering from a broken back.
In 2021, the gunner hit .289 / .351 / .426 in 146 games, hitting 32 doubles, hitting 13 home runs and hitting 63 lines.
“I know I have a long way to go, but give me about a year to strengthen my arm, with long shots and all that,” Verdugo mentioned. “I have to make sure I can pitch hard. In some open games, maybe I can get on the hill. If I’m doing it right, why not keep doing it?
Verdugo said the last time he pitched was in high school, in the 2013-2014 season. He was 4-3 with a 2.26 ERA in 10 games (nine starts), striking out 93 opponents and giving up 31 walks in 52.2 innings.
MaxPreps ranked Verdugo as the fifth-best left-handed pitcher among the 2014 amateur draft prospects (ahead of Justin Sheffield, who is now in the Majors with the Mariners), but there is a long gap between pitching in the secondary and doing it in the majors. Suspenders.
“Realistically, I hope to locate [la recta] mid-90 mph and then, if I’m upset, hit 97, ”Verdugo said. “It had a curve, a slider and a knuckle curve, so that would be my repertoire.”