In a recent sit-down with MLB.com, Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi answered questions on a wide range of topics, from the Green Monster to J.D. Martinez. MLB.com: I was doing research on you and the one thing I noticed is that you don't like to say much. Why is that?Benintendi:
In a recent sit-down with MLB.com, Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi answered questions on a wide range of topics, from the Green Monster to J.D. Martinez.
MLB.com: I was doing research on you and the one thing I noticed is that you don't like to say much. Why is that?
Benintendi: I don't know. I always kept things to myself. I don't have anything to say, really. I'm short and to the point.
MLB.com: The reason I ask is, you're a star in a big city. A lot of people expect you to say a lot in a big city.
Benintendi: Yeah, a big market. You have a lot of fans. But I just like to go to the field, do my job and then go home -- not try to do anything else.
MLB.com: I know you come from Ohio [Cincinnati]. Who taught you to be that way -- be seen and not heard?
Benintendi: Even in high school and college, I was quiet. I never was outspoken. I was a "lead-by-example" kind of guy. I was never a "pumped-up guy" that had a speech. That's how I was raised -- kind of, "Be quiet, humble, keep your head down and keep working."
MLB.com: Tell me the biggest thing your father, Chris, taught you?
Benintendi: He taught me a lot. I can't single out one thing. He comes from a family that has been in the country -- down by the Ohio River. His dad came over from Sicily. My grandfather became a doctor. My dad worked hard and went to law school. He is a lawyer and has been one for 26 years. He always taught me about hard work. If you want something bad enough, just go do it.
MLB.com: So you followed your father -- work hard and say nothing.
Benintendi: Right. Exactly. He knew what he wanted to do. He wanted to be a lawyer. I wanted to play baseball. I didn't have a Plan B. I really didn't. It really wasn't an option for me.
MLB.com: Do you realize you are playing a position for a franchise where three left fielders are Hall of Famers? Jim Rice, Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski. You are off to a good start. Tell me how you feel about playing that position.
Benintendi: Left field is kind of new to me still. I always played center field. The first game I played left was in Double-A. … I feel a lot more comfortable now than when I was called up. I'm still trying to learn to play that wall [Green Monster], because you never know what it's going to do. It will do one thing one day and hit the same spot and go another way the other days. It's weird. I'm just trying to get better out there. I think I've learned a lot.
MLB.com: I'm not going to lie. You look comfortable in left field. For you to say that about the Green Monster is something.
Benintendi: We put in the work in Spring Training. We work at it every single day. I'm just trying to get used to it still. I have an idea where it's going to go. If someone tries to hit it off the wall, I try to keep it a single. If you do that, you have a chance for a double-play ball, whatever it may be. I still have a lot to learn.
MLB.com: Have you talked to anyone like Jim Rice about playing the Green Monster?
Benintendi: Not too much. Jim Rice has said a few things about the angles, things like that -- which way the ball is going to go. He said that a few times. Other than that, not too much.
MLB.com: When you hear from a guy like Rice -- a Hall of Famer -- what does that mean to you?
Benintendi: It's pretty cool. He knows it more than I do. He has been out there a long time. Anything he says, I will listen to and, hopefully, incorporate that into the way I play.
MLB.com: The one thing I learned about you is that you are a pretty good dancer. I think you are better than Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr.
Benintendi: Oh, no doubt.
MLB.com: The three of you used to dance after a victory. How did you learn how to dance?
Benintendi: I've always liked to dance ever since I was a younger kid. I remember I would watch the "Thriller" dance. I memorized the whole thing. That's where I got my moves from. I always enjoyed dancing. We haven't danced this year. We got rid of it. A lot of people didn't like that choice.
MLB.com: What was the reason?
Benintendi: It had run its course.
MLB.com: It was pretty good.
Benintendi: People liked it. We are doing OK right now. We'll stick with what we are doing.
MLB.com:The Red Sox have won the AL East the past three years. I know you want to go past the first round. What makes this team special?
Benintendi: I think it's everybody in the clubhouse. There is no entitlement, no egos. Everybody is on the same page. Everybody is pulling for each other. It would be easy for someone who is on the bench to kind of root against someone who is playing the position you are playing. That doesn't go on here at all. You show up expecting to win. We feel if we put a good game plan together, our chances are pretty good to win the game.
MLB.com: Not trying to put words in your mouth. This team has already won 100 games. Is this team good enough to go all the way?
Benintendi: We are definitely good enough to go all the way. Once the regular season is over, everything completely changes. It's about who is hot at the right time. Once we get everybody healthy and feeling good, we are definitely good enough to [go all the way]. I don't see why we couldn't be the ones who win it.
MLB.com: In my opinion, what makes this team different is J.D. Martinez. Talk about the difference he has made -- what have you learned from a guy like that?
Benintendi: He is having an amazing year. He has done it the last few years. For him to come in and hit 40 homers and drive in 120 already, it's insane. It's affected our lineup. He helps in the cage. A lot of guys will go to him and ask questions about their swing. Watching him prepare for a game every single game and stick to his routine is pretty cool to watch.
MLB.com: What's the biggest thing that sticks out when it comes to Martinez?
Benintendi: Just his preparation. It's by far the [best] I've ever seen. The stuff he does and the video he watches, the information he writes down, I've never seen it before. It definitely works for him.
MLB.com: Would you like to follow that routine?
Benintendi: [Laughing] I'm not there yet. Something works for other people. I don't know if that would work for me. It definitely works for him.
MLB.com: Why are you better this year?
Benintendi: I think it's experience, having a game plan and approach. Facing the same pitchers over and over, you start to realize what they are trying to do to you, how they pitch you. The more you face them, the better idea you have, the more that helps you.
MLB.com: I've watched you ever since you entered the big leagues. I feel there is greatness on the horizon. How great can you be?
Benintendi: Oh, man. I don't know. We'll see. I'm just trying to focus on getting better each year. I think I'm better this year than I was last year. Hopefully, I'll be better next year than I am this year. I'm just trying to improve each year. We'll see where that takes me.
Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. He covered the Nationals/Expos from 2002-2016. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.