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Top prospects Bogaerts, Bradley debut together

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The fans who stuck around for the nightcap of Thursday's college doubleheader might want to save their ticket stub.

This seven-inning contest against Boston College marked the first time the organization's top two position prospects played for the big league club.

Xander Bogaerts, in his preparation for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic, moved one position to his right and started at third base. Jackie Bradley Jr. got the start in center.

"It was definitely something that we've been working on and just trying to play hard," said Bradley. "If we're both on the same field at the same time in the future, that would be great. He's a great player, and I'm honored to be playing on the field with him."

The duo caught the eye of manager John Farrell, each doing different things to impress as the Red Sox downed BC, 11-1.

"He's an exciting young player," Farrell said of Bogaerts. "Regardless of if he's standing at third or short, he's a presence in the box."

Bogaerts went 1-for-4 with a double and made the two plays he had at third base.

The biggest difference between third and short?

"One hand," Bogaerts said. "You have to go mostly to your one hand, and shortstop you can go two hands. The ball comes quickly, and you have to react quicker. Shortstop you have a little more time to let the ball come to you. I guess with just more reps and more reps, you'll get better."

With Will Middlebrooks set to man the hot corner for several years to come at Fenway, Bogaerts doesn't have to worry too much about a defensive switch at this point.

Bradley went 1-for-3, including a wind-blown double that hit the base of the wall in right-center by the Red Sox's bullpen.

"When I first hit it, I was thinking, 'I got my job done.' Man on third base, less than two outs, trying to get it into the outfield," said Bradley. "Then it started going back and back. I never really looked up to find the ball. I was kind of looking at the fielders, and I finally saw it hit the wall. I was like, 'Oh my goodness.' I guess it kind of got above the stadium and the wind carried it."

And his defense?

"The one play Bradley had, we were able to quickly see what everybody has raved about and the precision to his routes and jumps," said Farrell. "That's impressive."

The most impressive thing Bradley did was a subtle one. He hit a popup to the catcher that looked like a sure out.

Instead of assuming, Bradley bolted out of the box and was at second base by the time the ball was dropped. It was ruled foul.

"He ends up standing on second base, not taking anything for granted. It's exciting to see that kind of polish for a young player," said Farrell.

Because of Bogaerts' commitment to the Netherlands, Bradley will get a lengthier chance to soak in his first Major League Spring Training.

"This was my first time getting to play in this stadium," said Bradley. "I really enjoyed it, and hopefully I can play some more games here."

Bogaerts will serve as a backup to Middlebrooks for Saturday's 1:35 p.m. ET Grapefruit League game against the Rays on MLB.TV. Later that night, he will be on a plane to Taiwan.

"The longest one I think was nine hours when I went to the Netherlands," said Bogaerts. "That wasn't bad, but 16 [hours to Taiwan]? I think it's 16. I don't know. I'll probably ask the Red Sox for a sleeping pill or something. That's tough."

While Bogaerts will take pride in taking part in an international showcase, he looks forward to his return to Fort Myers.

"You know, the Red Sox are my first priority," Bogaerts said. "They gave me the opportunity to go play, and I'm thankful for that. I'll be back, though."

Ian Browne is a reporter for Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne.
Read More: Boston Red Sox, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley