On Pro Baseball
---- — BOSTON — A perfect example of Red Sox rookie right-hander Allen Webster’s laid-back personality came in the midst of the seventh inning of a start earlier this season for Triple-A Pawtucket when manager Gary DiSarcina walked to the mound for a pitching change.
The PawSox infielders, including Brandon Snyder, jogged to the mound to congratulate Webster on a job well done.
“We’re all kind of running in saying, ‘Hey, Webby, great job,’” Snyder recalled. “He turns and goes, ‘Well, I’ll see ya later.’ That’s the funniest thing I’ve ever heard a pitcher say getting out of a game.”
To set the scene, Snyder used Webster’s slow Southern drawl to imitate him.
Webster might be the quietest, most laid-back and shyest player in all of Major League Baseball right now. He also might be the future ace of the Boston Red Sox.
The 23-year-old earned his first major league victory here at Fenway Park yesterday, going 6.0 innings and allowing two runs, both earned, on five hits and four walks while striking out four.
The Red Sox won 8-2 over the Padres to cap a three-game series sweep and improve to 53-34.
So how does Webster’s personality co-exist with media-crazed and fast-paced Boston?
Webster has been relatively quiet with the media since being traded from the Dodgers last August. His answers are never extensive — far from it, actually.
“This is how I’ve always been,” Webster said. “Just a man of few words, I guess you can say.”
He said his dad doesn’t say much either.
“I’m still trying to get comfortable with the media, I guess you could say,” Webster said.
“The media is a big part of it,” he added. “You’ve got to get out there and let the fans hear what you’ve got to say. I’m still getting used to it, trying to get comfortable with it and everything.”
Webster grew up in Madison, N.C., which has a population of 2,219. He describes it as “a wooded, country area.” He and his buddies always have enjoyed canoeing. He also hunts deer.
When asked if his dream life, if not a baseball player, possibly would be an outdoorsy existence and owning a cabin in a quiet location, Webster replied: “Yeah, sounds good. I always like it quiet. Relaxed.”
Boston is a loud city though.
“I’m still getting used to it,” Webster admitted. “This is a whole different lifestyle up here than where I’m from. Everything is moving fast.”
Snyder, who was promoted to Boston recently, said: “Webby’s one of those guys where you really have to gain his trust before he opens up. ... Once he opens up in the clubhouse, he’s obviously a lot different. He’s never much of a talker regardless.”
Webster does seem to fit Boston in the sense that his shyness disappears when he’s on the mound.
“He definitely has that bulldog mentality,” Snyder said. “He’s up there going right after hitters. He’s a competitor.”
Webster entered spring training ranked by Baseball America as the 49th best prospect in professional baseball. He turned heads spring training, reaching 98 mph on the radar.
“His changeup is a key pitch for him,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “When he’s in a tight spot, that pitch gets his delivery back in sync, gets him back down in the strike zone and on the plate more regularly.”
Webster is only with Boston now because Clay Buchholz (neck) remains on the disabled list. The youngster certainly is getting some valuable experience for next year when he likely will join Boston’s starting rotation to begin the season.
“Obviously I just got to get better with my fastball command,” Webster said. “Just every start is a learning experience. Every start something happens that you learn.”