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April 7, 2013

Brentz has put bizarre accident in the past

If not for gun accident, slugger might be talk of the town

Red Sox fans should pay close attention to Bryce Brentz.

This offseason, some considered 24-year-old outfielder the organization’s most big league-ready positional prospect.

But he accidentally shot himself in his left leg while cleaning his handgun in late January. The bullet went straight through his leg, coming out the other side.

So Brentz wasn’t able to participate in big league camp as originally expected. And while Brentz recovered, Jackie Bradley Jr. proved to be the organization’s most ready prospect.

Bradley already is making an impact in Boston while Brentz is in Pawtucket waiting for his turn.

Brentz, a right-handed hitter, hit 30 homers in Single-A during 2011, then 17 homers in Double-A Portland last year before a late-season promotion to Pawtucket.

“I can’t control who they call up and what they do,” Brentz said. “I’ve just got to play and see what happens. Hopefully, I play good enough where they do feel like, ‘Hey we do need to call him up.’”

Brentz received his fair share of media attention because of his gun accident.

“Once that calmed down, it was like a normal spring training besides a lot of jokes being thrown out,” Brentz said. “So we had a lot of fun. But everybody has kind of moved past it because I’m playing. Nothing’s changed.”

Some have compared Brentz’s power potential to Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks’. That remains to be seen. Another thing that remains to be seen is whether Brentz has an early power surge in Pawtucket like Middlebrooks did last year.

Brentz has worked on his plate approach the past two years. Once considered a free-swinger, he has become much more selective.

“I’ve calmed down a little bit but I’m still walking up to the plate trying to do damage, especially ahead in the count,” Brentz said. “I’m trying to swing at better pitches. It comes with a lot of trial and error and cleaning up some things in the strike zone.”

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