With Papi gone, Sox to be aggressive on bases

With Papi gone, Sox to be aggressive on bases

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Without David Ortiz's bat in the middle of the lineup, Red Sox manager John Farrell will encourage his team to be more aggressive on the bases.

In particular, Xander Bogaerts, Dustin Pedroia and Mookie Betts probably could have stolen more bases in recent years, but moving runners into scoring position with Ortiz up would lessen the chances of opponents pitching to him. Rookie Andrew Benintendi will likely bat second against right-handers and he has good speed. Jackie Bradley Jr. is another player Farrell expects will run more.

"We would like to run as much as possible," said Farrell. "Our guide is always going to be our success rate. We've done a good job the last three years. I thought last year late in the season we were not as efficient in trying to steal bases."

One of the first things Farrell said in his introductory news conference upon being named manager of the Red Sox in 2012 was his aggressive mindset on the bases.

"It's part of every Spring Training, part of the mindset we create," Farrell said. "If those opportunities exist, regardless of who is at the plate absent of David, we may be a bit more aggressive in those spots."

Farrell often talks about smart aggression. He said the Red Sox should have a minimum of a 75 percent success rate when stealing.

In 2016, the Red Sox finished sixth in the American League with 83 stolen bases. Their success rate was 78 percent.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.