Sea Dogs Spring Training Coverage/Hassan Interview

I wanted to thank Elizabeth Dreeson for her coverage of the Sea Dogs from Ft. Myers.

Check out her blog at:

A few notes from yesterday….

Portland lineup in exhibition game (this is in no way an official look at what the team will be on opening day)


Kyle Weiland pitched on Wednesday, said he felt good and it went well…Stolmy Pimentel is pitching today for Portland.

Ran into the Burkes (Sea Dogs owners) today at the complex!…Portland Sea Dogs’ President Charlie Echbach and General Manager Geoff Iacuessa are in Ft. Myers. 

Sitting Down with Alex Hassan

Alex Hassan is known throughout the Red Sox organization as
a skilled, versatile outfielder. However, Hassan was not always strictly an
outfielder. In fact, he was originally drafted by the Red Sox out of Duke
University as a pitcher, but ended up signing as an outfielder.

            “Before the
draft, all the teams told me I was going to be a pitcher. Then probably a month
before the draft, I [pulled] my oblique and didn’t pitch–I could only hit. So I
went to Cape-Cod, and I had a really good summer hitting–I also pitched–but by
the end of the summer, [the Red Sox] just decided that I’d make a better impact
in the outfield.”

transition from a pitcher to an outfielder seems like a drastic one, but it was
not as difficult for Hassan. During his time at Duke, he split his time between
pitching and playing in the outfield, so he already had some experience.

            “I think
the only adjustment was getting used to playing everyday, [and] only focusing
on one position. The transition was pretty good because it was a lot easier on
my body only doing one [position.]”

Hassan is a valuable asset for the
organization because he can play both left and right field. “I think that for
me, it’s going to be pretty important that I can play both [positions,] and
play both well.”

Does his experience as a pitcher
give him any advantages as a hitter?

            “I would
like to say yeah, but not really. I don’t feel like I’m good at guessing what
is coming. I don’t really think too much along with the pitcher–that’s just not
my style of hitting–but I wish it helped me more.”

Hassan put up solid numbers for
Salem. He batted .287–a drop from his 2009 season split between Lowell and
Greenville where he batted .323–and posted a .397 OBP, his highest to date.
April was a really tough month for Hassan, though: he batted only .140.

            “I just got
off to a tough start: the first month I really struggled. After the first month
I just felt like I took a lot of pressure off myself to do well, and I started
doing a lot better. Overcoming a bad start was probably the most challenging

hitters struggle when they hit the High-A level because the pitchers are more
sophisticated. But Hassan has an interesting perspective on the advancement of
pitchers: “It definitely gets challenging as you move up, but it’s the same
game no matter what level you’re playing at. You can control and have good
at-bats no matter where you are. They are not inventing new pitches, so you
just have to go up there and hit, and hopefully it works out.”

            If it was
not the pitching that daunted Hassan during his first month, what does he
attribute his struggles to?

            “It was
more just putting pressure on myself. I just tried to do too much to try and
show everyone that I belong on the team.”

spring, Hassan has had the opportunity to appear in a few major-league spring
training games. Although he has only had two at-bats, he has collected two hits
and two RBIs.

            “You can
learn a lot just by listening and watching the way that the players go about
their business, and it has been a really valuable experience for me to see what
that level is like.” 

            Hassan has
put up solid numbers ever since signing with the Red Sox in 2009. In fact, he
jumped from Lowell to Greenville that same season, where he only played eight
games. After a solid 2010 season in Salem, Hassan will likely make the jump to
Double-A Portland to start the 2011 season. 

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