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Sports

February 5, 2013

Bradley Jr. doesn't expect to hit any walls this year

Sox center fielder of the future confident he's ready

(Continued)

Continuing in the family business of baseball

New Red Sox director of media relations Kevin Gregg, 32, is the son of the late Eric Gregg, a National League umpire for 23 years. Eric was only the third African-American umpire in the history of Major League Baseball and died in June 2006 after a massive stroke.

Two knuckleballers

Knuckleballer Steven Wright, who Boston acquired from Cleveland last season and added to its 40-man roster this offseason, is no longer the only knuckleballer in the Red Sox system.

The Red Sox recently signed Charlie Haeger, according to BaseballAmerica.com. The 29-year-old knuckleballer was with the Sox organization in 2011, including posting a 4-1 record and 3.24 ERA in eight starts for the Portland Sea Dogs.

Be patient with Wright and Haeger. It often takes time for a knuckleballer to truly develop his pitch into a dominant one.

For instance, ace R.A. Dickey, now with Toronto, had little success until his mid-30s. Over the past three years, though, he has been one of the best pitchers in the majors and won the 2012 NL Cy Young.

During spring training last year, Wright ran into Indians president Mark Shapiro who had interesting words of wisdom for him.

“He goes, ‘You’re the one guy out of all these lockers that age is just a number — it means nothing,’” Wright recalled. “He goes, ‘For us, you’re just a newly drafted pitcher.’”

Other Red Sox prospects

MLB.com’s Top 100 prospects in baseball list included six Red Sox players: Bogaerts (20th), Bradley (32nd), right-handed pitcher Matt Barnes (38th), right-handed pitcher Allen Webster (71st), left-hander Henry Owens (94th) and shortstop Jose Iglesias (96th).

Bradley played this year with Bogaerts, the 20-year-old phenom who batted .307 with a .373 on-base percentage and stroked 20 homers and drove in 81 runs between Salem and Portland.

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