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After strong rookie year, Benintendi eyes more

Left fielder thinks experience will help him keep improving
MLB.com @IanMBrowne

BOSTON -- Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi turned heads at Thursday's Boston Baseball Writers Dinner with strikingly shorter hair. Benintendi also plans on making something else a lot shorter in 2018 -- his slumps.

Although Benintendi collected the Red Sox Rookie of the Year Award on Thursday as voted on by the Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, he doesn't think he was good enough.

BOSTON -- Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi turned heads at Thursday's Boston Baseball Writers Dinner with strikingly shorter hair. Benintendi also plans on making something else a lot shorter in 2018 -- his slumps.

Although Benintendi collected the Red Sox Rookie of the Year Award on Thursday as voted on by the Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, he doesn't think he was good enough.

Many rookies would love to have 20 homers, 90 RBIs and 20 stolen bases. But Benintendi scoffs at some of his other numbers, such as a .271 batting average, 84 runs and 26 doubles.

"I think I'm a better hitter than what I showed last year," Benintendi said. "There were too many slumps. More valleys than peaks, it seemed like -- just being inconsistent. I feel like every other month, it was a bad month. [I'm] just trying to even that up, and I think I'm going to be a lot better hitter overall."

Video: Benintendi signs at Winter Weekend

Benintendi is demanding more of himself, and he doesn't think being a rookie was an excuse for being inconsistent.

"That's not the issue. I've just got to be better," Benintendi said.

There's no question, however, that a year of knowledge under his belt should position Benintendi for improvement.

"Going into this year, I'll have faced a lot of the guys before now, so I can go back, watch film, see how they pitched me and try to make adjustments," said Benintendi. "I know what to expect going into Spring Training, kind of how everything works. I know all the guys, and I know how to prepare for a full season. [I'm] just kind of looking forward to being down there, getting started."

Manager Alex Cora is excited about the type of damage Benintendi can do in the lineup, hitting behind leadoff man Mookie Betts.

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"He's a good player. Stronger than I expected and put together," said Cora. "The way he runs the bases, the way he hits the ball out of the ballpark, it's impressive. He's a good player, and I think that the spots where we're going to use him and how we're going to use him, he's going to improve."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, Andrew Benintendi