WORCESTER — Earlier this week, Jorge Alfaro took to Twitter to share some Monday morning motivation.
“Giving up is not an option,” Alfaro tweeted at 10:43 a.m. eastern time on Monday.
That tweet came shortly after Red Sox manager Alex Cora announced to reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo) in Fort Myers that Alfaro had been reassigned to minor-league camp, meaning he did not beat out Connor Wong for the No. 2 catching spot on Boston’s Opening Day roster behind Reese McGuire.
It also meant that Alfaro was going to remain with the Red Sox and accept his assignment to Triple-A Worcester, which did not seem like a given earlier this spring.
The Red Sox initially signed Alfaro to a minor-league contract in January. The deal came with an “upward mobility” clause that would allow the 29-year-old backstop to pursue a major-league opportunity elsewhere if he was not added to Boston’s 40-man roster by a specific date.
Alfaro exercised that clause this past Saturday, triggering a 48-hour window that — to a certain extent — would determine his immediate future.
“I was pretty much chilling at my house, waiting,” Alfaro told BloggingtheRedSox.com at Polar Park on Wednesday. “I did what I’m supposed to, what I could do. I try to control what I can control and whatever happens, happens. Those things that you don’t have control over, you just have to sit down and see what the future holds for you.”
Alfaro had an impressive spring for Boston at the plate, batting .478/.520/.870 with three doubles, two home runs, six RBIs, and three runs scored in nine Grapefruit League games. Despite those gaudy numbers, though, the right-handed hitter was unable to find a better opportunity, which is why he is still a member of the Red Sox organization.
“I was happy with the job that I did,” said Alfaro. “Whatever happens, right now I’m here [in Worcester]. I can tell everyone — the fans and all my teammates — that I’m going to keep playing the same way, I’m going to bring the same energy every time, and I’m going to give my 100 percent all the time.”
Cora said Monday that it was “important in a selfish way” to keep Alfaro in the organization. As noted by MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith, the Red Sox want Alfaro to continue working on his receiving, which is something that has hindered the 6-foot-3, 230-pounder in the past.
“You want all these guys to be big-leaguers but I think to have him here, he made some strides defensively,” Cora said of Alfaro. “We’re very comfortable with it compared to last year. I think [catching instructor Jason Varitek] feels like there’s a lot of improvement, especially with the one-knee down position. This guy, he communicates well. He has a good feel with the pitching staff. It’s just a numbers game at some point. And where we’re at right now, we feel comfortable with the guys that we have and obviously comfortable with him staying in the organization.”
With the WooSox, not only will Alfaro be looking to build off his solid spring, but he will also be looking to build off a strong offseason in which he played for the Tigres del Licey of the Dominican Winter League and was named the MVP of the league’s championship series.
“When I went down there, I tried to play hard, get back that confidence you have as a player,” Alfaro explained. “I was coming off two years that were not my best years. So going down there, getting the job done, and helping the team, it means a lot. And winning MVP of the finals, I wasn’t expecting that. I was just in that league to help the team, do what I can, and improve on things.
“Just trying not to do too much,” he added. “Just use that opportunity to prove to myself that I can get back to where I was and compete when I step on the field.”
Alfaro, who turns 30 in June, has the ability opt out of his contract with the Red Sox if he is not on the major-league roster by June 1 or July 1 at the latest. For now, though, he is focused on staying present and helping his teammates in any way he can.
“Now that I’m here, my goal is to just help the team with whatever I can,” Alfaro said. “Help my teammates with whatever they need. I know I have a little experience — a couple years — in the big-leagues and I can help a lot of people. … Just go out there and compete and play hard. I think my main goal is just to stay healthy.”
(Picture of Jorge Alfaro: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)