BOSTON -- For the Red Sox, Monday's opening of the annual Rookie Development Program included an event that befitted Martin Luther King Day, as players took part in community service.The venue was Higginson-Lewis K-8 School in Roxbury, Mass., where some of the organization's top prospects worked with Red Sox scholars
BOSTON -- For the Red Sox, Monday's opening of the annual Rookie Development Program included an event that befitted Martin Luther King Day, as players took part in community service.
The venue was Higginson-Lewis K-8 School in Roxbury, Mass., where some of the organization's top prospects worked with Red Sox scholars to paint the cafeteria and murals (the color was Green Monster green) in the halls.
The group of eight prospects included third baseman Rafael Devers (ranked No. 2 among the Boston prospects by MLBPipeline.com), first baseman Sam Travis and lefty reliever Robby Scott, who spent last September with the Red Sox. Also on-hand were right-handers Kyle Martin, Chandler Shepherd and Ben Taylor, and left-handed pitchers Edgar Olmos and Luis Ysla.
"Of course it's always nice to be able to come back out here during the offseason and give back to the community," said Scott. "These kids do a lot for us and support us through the season. The least we can do is come back and give back to the community while we're here."
For a couple of hours, Travis, Boston's No. 4 prospect, traded his bat in for a paint brush. As he painted away, he made easy conversation with Devers and Scott and interacted with the many students on hand.
The Red Sox Scholars program was launched in 2003, and with the selection of the new class of Boston Public School students each year, the program provides mentoring, enrichment activities and college scholarships to 262 Boston Public School students.
"This is our class of 2016, and now they're in eighth grade," said Gena Borson, executive director of the Red Sox Foundation. "Every year, part of their curriculum is to do a community service project on MLK Day. In the past several years, we pair with baseball ops and the rookie program so that they can join our Red Sox scholars and our corporate sponsors. I think it works great with the rookies to see what we do as the Red Sox and the Red Sox Foundation, and it gives them an idea of what we do in the community,"
The players and the students seemed to enjoy the event equally.
"Obviously it's a special day for our nation and for our country," said Scott. "It's a good time to realize what we have and how good it is and it's good just to be out here in the community on this special day, especially."
The prospects will have a busy week at Rookie Development camp. Aside from daily workouts and baseball instruction, they will listen to speakers who help shed some light on all aspects of what it takes to succeed at the highest level. Among those scheduled to address the group: Red Sox president Sam Kennedy, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and special assistant and former team captain Jason Varitek. Celtics coach Brad Stevens will also give a speech.
Red Sox manager John Farrell spoke to the group on Monday.
"It's good to be up here and see familiar faces. John said it best this morning. This kind of kicks off the year," said Scott. "It's time to go now."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and **Facebook**.