Circling the bases with Tug Hulett

March, 28, 2010
3/28/10
1:31
PM ET
FORT MYERS, Fla. – In acquiring Kevin Frandsen from the San Francisco Giants on Friday, the Red Sox added middle infield depth. Frandsen and Tug Hulett will split time between shortstop and second base in the coming days, and if Mike Lowell’s recovery from a left knee contusion takes a wrong turn, one of them could land on the opening day roster.

On Saturday, manager Terry Francona noted that Hulett has swung the bat well this spring. Hulett is hitting .263 and has led the Red Sox with 10 RBI.

A Q&A with Hulett from Sunday morning in the Red Sox clubhouse:

Have they given you a sense for when they’ll start letting you know about the roster?
“No. Either way, it’s not really up to me. … Fortunately, with the Triple A being as close as it is [in Pawtucket], it’s not that big of an issue. You don’t have to worry about it too much. I already have a place [to live] and it’s kind of in the middle. Being a bubble guy, I knew that coming in. I won’t have to move either way.”

Terry Francona talked about how he’ll have you playing a little more shortstop in the final week. …
“That was one of the things in our initial meeting at the beginning of the year, ‘Hey we need to see if you can play short.’ I realize that I may not have the prototype shortstop’s body, but I can play over there. I had a little bit of a shoulder thing coming in this spring, so that’s probably why I haven’t been over there as much as I could have been. But it’s back. I feel 100 percent, ready to roll. So we’ll go over there and see what happens.”

What is your background at shortstop?
“I grew up playing short. I used to catch a lot growing up, and then my [younger] brother took my job. I ended up having to go to shortstop. I was there until college and then moved over to second. I moved back to short the first year of pro ball and it’s kind of been one of those things like riding a bike. You get over there, it takes a little bit of time getting used to it, but once that happens and you get enough ground balls and enough work, it kind of falls into place and you start doing things pretty natural again.”

What is it like for you, fighting for a job all spring, and then they bring in another guy? How do you deal with that in terms of maintaining your focus?
“Sometimes it’s hard, but growing up with a dad who played [Tim Hulett played for the White Sox, Orioles and Cardinals from 1983-1995] and was a utility guy for a long time, I have a great resource in that department where I can just go ‘What do I need to do? How should I deal with this? How should I take this?’ And he goes ‘Son, you’re going to have to win a job every year. It doesn’t matter who you are. This game is the greatest game in the world because one year you could have a great year and then next year you could stink. You need to be ready every day to take somebody’s job, no matter who it is.’ So that’s my mindset, to go out and play as hard as I can, do everything that I can control, and then go home and kind of forget about it. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve been able to do that this spring training. It’s been pretty good. I don’t take it personal. I don’t take it as a slap in the face or anything. It’s more competition. The more competition, the better, and the better we are as a team, and the more games we can win. That’s really what it’s about now. It’s not about me. It’s about winning games. I’m looking forward to winning some games.”

Has the Hulett last name, given your father’s baseball career, ever been a burden for you?
“I’ve never seen it as a burden. I’ve always accepting it as a blessing, to have that pedigree, to have that name. And not only to have that name and that background he had in the game, but his reputation is impeccable. Everybody loves him. Nobody has ever had anything bad to say about him. I’m trying to live up to that. That’s tougher than the baseball aspect, the type of person he was and the relationships he developed. I’m so proud to have the name that I have, and hopefully I can continue that good name as long as I can.”

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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