January 9, 2015 at 8:27 PM
According to WEEI. com's Rob Bradford, the Red Sox have invited ten players to the annual Rookie Development Program beginning next week. The invitees will be pitchers Heath Hembree, Edwin Escobar, Eduardo Rodriguez, Zeke Spruill, and Brian Johnson, second baseman Sean Coyle, catcher Blake Swihart, and outfielders Rusney Castillo, Henry Ramos (pictured, left), and Mookie Betts (pictured, right).
The program is about a week long and is designed for players who are on the cusp of, or have already gotten a taste of, the big leagues. Baseball activities are a portion of the program, but its main focus is to school players on what everyday life will be like as a Major League Baseball player, with topics of instruction including things like travel, money, dealing with media and trade possibilities. Players will also be able to get to know the big league coaching staff better, as they will be there to evaluate and teach. The program typically involves outside speakers coming in to talk to the players as well, like former Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers did in 2011.
Hembree, Escobar, Spruill, Castillo and Betts have already seen time at the big league level. Hembree and Spruill made their debuts in 2013 for the Giants and Diamondbacks, respectively. Escobar, Castillo and Betts all made their debuts for Boston in 2014.
Of the 10 players invited to this program in 2014, four were called up to Boston to make their debuts, including Matt Barnes, Garin Cecchini, Anthony Ranaudo and Christian Vazquez.
Photo credit: Henry Ramos and Mookie Betts by Kelly O'Connor.