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By BRENDAN McGAIR
PAWTUCKET â€“ Alex Hassan is listed on Bostonâ€™s 40-man roster. Such a distinction helps spell out what manager Gary DiSarcina has to do now that Hassan is back with the PawSox.
â€śAlex is going to get worked in. Weâ€™ve got a boatload of outfielders now, but heâ€™s a priority. Heâ€™s a 40-man guy. Heâ€™s going to play a little first base,â€ť said DiSarcina prior to Thursdayâ€™s game against Buffalo getting rained out. â€śStart him off slow â€“ he hasnâ€™t been playing a ton. Manage his games played early so heâ€™s feeling comfortable and healthy. Forty-man guy â€¦ they have to play, thereâ€™s no doubt about it.â€ť
When Hassan takes the field at McCoy Stadium, it will mark his first Triple-A game since last August. The 25-year-old Duke grad missed out on Pawtucketâ€™s run to the Governorsâ€™ Cup due to a laceration on his left leg. During the playoffs, then-Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler noted that Hassan, â€śHeâ€™s probably healed up to play, but if he opened it back up, now weâ€™re back to square one with the greater chance of infection.â€ť
Fast forward to Opening Day 2013 in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Hassan was listed on that nightâ€™s lineup card but wound up getting scratched roughly 30 minutes prior to first pitch.
Suffering from a right calf strain, Hassan was sent down to Fort Myers in late April. He received clearance to vacate the Red Soxâ€™ spring-training complex and begin a rehab assignment with Single-A Greenville roughly a month upon landing at Fenway South.
Hassanâ€™s first appearance with the Drive took place May 22. His second game with the ball club didnâ€™t come until June 4 (unlike the majors, there are no such thing as timetables when a minor-league player goes on a rehab assignment, meaning itâ€™s not as if Hassan was on a specific timetable to return to Pawtucket).
From June 4 on, Hassan appeared in eight games for Greenville. His final game action took place Tuesday when he played in both ends of a doubleheader. The Quincy, Mass. native ended up batting .478 with 10 walks in 23 Class A at-bats.
â€śI didnâ€™t have a ton of at-bats during spring training, so it was good to get at-bats (in the lower minors) to kind of get you ready for this,â€ť said Hassan while standing in Pawtucketâ€™s clubhouse on Thursday.
If there are any restrictions as far as DHâ€™ing for the PawSox one day, playing the outfield the following day with a scheduled day off in between, Hassan isnâ€™t aware.
â€śGoing to Greenville, it was more of a controlled setting where I could get some of that stuff out of the way,â€ť said Hassan. â€śIt was tough going through everything, but Iâ€™m happy to be back here.â€ť
The fact that DiSarcina mentioned that a little time at first base is on Hassanâ€™s dance card probably has to do more with his 40-man classification than anything. Going back to spring training, itâ€™s safe to assume the Red Sox selected Mike Carp over Lyle Overbay is because Carp is also an outfielder in addition to a first baseman. Having the ability to play two positions worked in Carpâ€™s favor and is now something Hassan is about to take a stab at.
â€śItâ€™s something that I think I can be really good at,â€ť said Hassan when the topic switched to playing first base.
Hassan is just one of two 40-man outfielders on Pawtucketâ€™s roster, Jackie Bradley Jr. being the other. Presently, Boston does not have a minor league member with first base experience on its 40-man roster. That problem seems to have been addressed now that Hassan is about to pick up a first basemanâ€™s mitt.
As a reminder, Red Sox greats Bernie Carbo and Bill "Spaceman" Lee will be signing autographs at McCoy Stadium tonight for Cox Red Sox Legends Night Game. The autograph session will begin at 7:15pm at the Cox Fan Center. Call 401-724-7300 for tickets.