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Cecchini, Sags best Rodriguez, Dogs11/04/2013 8:08 PM ET
By Danny Wild / MiLB.com
With the go-ahead run at second base in the eighth inning, Garin Cecchini wasn't looking to just reach base.
"Honestly, I don't go up there to walk," the Red Sox infield prospect said. "I don't think anyone does. I go up there to make it tough on the pitcher. I don't want to give away easy outs. I want to be productive and make it tough on the pitcher that day."
Cecchini went 2-for-4 with a go-ahead RBI double to highlight a five-run rally in the eighth as Surprise overcame Yorman Rodriguez and Glendale, 9-6, on Monday in the Arizona Fall League.
Cecchini, who knocked home two runs, put Surprise ahead against reliever Edgar Olmos (Marlins) when he doubled home Cleveland's Tyler Naquin for a 5-4 lead. The Saguaros tied the score on a throwing error by Olmos, and Mitch Haniger (Brewers) followed Cecchini's double with his third homer, a three-run drive that proved to be valuable insurance since Rodriguez responded with his second homer of the game in the bottom of the frame.
"I always try to take it as the last at-bat of my life," Cecchini said. "I want to grind out at-bats every single day."
That approach helped the third baseman hit .322 with seven homers, 61 RBIs and 23 stolen bases in 129 games between Class A Advanced Salem and Double-A Portland this season. The No. 7 Red Sox prospect finished the year with a .443 on-base percentage with 33 doubles and 94 walks.
His bat had quieted in Arizona -- he entered Monday battting .229 and now stands at .250. He also homered in one of his two plate appearances during Saturday's Fall Stars Game.
"I think I learned [my approach] from the Red Sox's way," he said. "Their development has done an unbelievable job with me. But also from my dad and mom, listening to them and being brought up with baseball and knowing the game."
Cecchini admitted he knew something more about his opposing starter Monday: He shares an agent with Glendale's Andrew Heaney, a Marlins prospect.
"I faced some tough lefties today. I know Heaney real well," Cecchini said. "And then we faced one from the Dodgers (Jarret Martin) and another with Marlins (Colby Suggs). Those were some tough lefties today. I just wanted to grind out at-bats, I was making adjustments from at-bat to at-bat and pitch to pitch."
Facing Olmos, a lefty who appeared in five Major League games this past season, the approach remained consistent.
"He threw a pitch I thought I could handle and I put a good swing on it and wherever it went, it went," Cecchini said. "I got a double, it felt good."
It was enough to overshadow the pair of two-run homers smacked by Rodriguez (Reds). Jared Mitchell (White Sox) went 3-for-5 and Chris O'Brien added two hits, an RBI and a walk as Glendale fell to 9-11.
"Our offense is unbelievable," Cecchini said of the Saguaros, who are 14-7 and up 4.5 games in the standings on the Desert Dogs. "We have unbelievable team chemistry right now. Everyone grinds out at-bats. It's a fun group to be with. Everyone is taking good at-bats."
While the Arizona expereince has been a fun one for Cecchini, he also got to enjoy watching his veteran teammates in Boston win the World Series.
"It's awesome to be a part of something like that, and I wasn't really a part of it -- I didn't do anything to make that team better, I was just watching," he said. "It was awesome to be around some of those guys... [Xander] Bogaerts and [Brandon] Workman. To see them competing in the World Series and getting the job done like they did, I thought, 'Man this is awesome. I've gotten it done with them. Just think, I can do the same thing.' It was a great team and a lot of fun to watch."
While the Arizona Fall League is a different world from the Major League postseason, Cecchini knows his time with Surprise can only help raise his stock and push him toward his goal of a promotion and, eventually, Fenway. He's seen it happen already.
"I've played with Bogaerts and stuff like that during Spring Training. Seeing him have success in big leagues, I couldn't be more happy for him," he said. "I think it's awesome. It gives you confidence because I was on the same field with him and I was having success too. It lets you know that if you work harder and keep grinding at-bats, you'll get a chance to help them win a World Series some day."
For now, he's focused simply on helping Surprise win an AFL ring and improving his game.
"I'm not worried what I hit out here," Cecchini said. "I couldn't care less if I hit .400 or .100. I'm refining my defense, trying to get consistent there and be consistent on the bases and get great reads every single time."