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June 3, 2014

Top Red Sox prospect Mookie Betts promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket

Top Red Sox prospect Mookie Betts has been promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket from Double-A Portland.

Betts, 21, will join the PawSox tonight when they open a four-game series in Durham.

Betts was hitting .355 with a .443 on-base percentage in 54 games for Portland this season. He played 40 games at second base, 12 games in center field and two games at DH.

"You look at his performance over the course of the season to date, he's just really excelled in every area of the game," Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said. "He's controlling the strike zone. He's running the bases. He's playing defense. He's obviously hitting. He's hitting for power.

"And I think at some point we have an obligation to challenge our young players when they are performing at a level where it's not certain that they're being challenged," Cherington added. "It's up to us to make sure they're being challenged."

Betts has been playing center field the past couple weeks. It became clear that he needed a position change since the Red Sox have second baseman Dustin Pedroia signed long term.

"This conversation (to promote Betts) started a few days ago," Cherington said. "We wanted to avoid introducing too much all at once to Mookie. So we knew that since he started to play some outfield, we wanted to give him a little bit of time to settle in in the outfield before also introducing him to Triple-A. Now that he's gotten a little bit of time in the outfield and gotten comfortable out there, we thought this was the time to move him up to Pawtucket."

His .355 batting average led the Eastern League and is sixth best in all of Minor League Baseball.

Follow Christopher Smith on Twitter @SmittyOnMLB

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