It may seem hard to imagine, but Xander Bogaerts, about to begin his ninth season with the Red Sox, is now the longest-tenured player on the team.
Some of Bogaerts' past teammates have been traded, signed elsewhere as free agents or, in some cases, retired from the game.
But Bogaerts, remains, suddenly, at 28, the elder statesman of the Sox.
"There's been a lot of changes,'' acknowledged Bogaerts. "It's strange. When I came here, I was a young kid in 2013 and a lot of veterans were like, 'Hey, this is going to go quick, so enjoy every moment that you get.' I'm already eight years into the big leagues and it's kind of crazy to think about how time flies too quickly. But they were right.''
The first eight seasons have taught Bogaerts plenty and he's better prepared now than he's ever been.
"With experience, you know you're going to have ups and downs throughout the season,'' he said. "(You learn) not to put too much pressure on yourself, knowing what you have to do to come out of slumps whenever you hit those rough patches, whenever you encounter them. And also having an understanding of what pitchers are trying to do to you and what it takes to win -- the little stuff. The little stuff matters.''
Although Bogaerts is known for his easy-going, cheerful demeanor, he revealed that he sometimes aggressively urges some of his teammates on in order to help them get better.
"I don't have that big mouth like Dustin (Pedroia) had,'' Bogaerts conceded, "but I like to push people. If I see they have an ability to be better than they are at that particular moment, I like to push them. Sometimes I make them a little mad at me because I know what I can see in them. When you're young, you really don't see it. But guys that have experience, guys that have been doing it for some time now, can really see that you have an ability, a special talent. It sucks for someone to have so much talent and not even make use of it. That's something they'll regret in the end.
"I'm just trying to make sure that doesn't happen to them, make them go out and give it their all and be the player that I know they can be, and also the player they want to be in the end.''