Granite State Baseball Dinner: JBJ tunes out trade noise – The Union Leader











MANCHESTER — Less than two months removed from the 2015 regular season, Boston Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. isn’t thinking about baseball. His main focuses right now are spending time with family and fine-tuning his skills at the latest “Call of Duty” video game.

“It’s been a great offseason,” Bradley Jr. said Saturday before the Granite State Baseball dinner at the Radisson Hotel Expo Center. “(I’ve) been able to relax, see some family and hang out.”

Former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter, a three-time all-star who grew up in Raymond, and Bradley Jr. headlined this year’s dinner, which raised money for the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Ted Williams Foundation and New Hampshire Fisher Cats Foundation.

Bradley Jr. split 2015 between Boston and Triple-A Pawtucket but made an impact with the former from late July on. After logging 71 games over three stints with the PawSox, he recorded a season-high .354 batting average in August with Boston and finished the year with a career-high .249 average at the big-league level. Bradley Jr. notched a career-high 10 home runs and 43 RBIs alongside 43 runs scored in 74 games with the Red Sox.

The 25-year-old said repetition is what led to his improvement at the plate this year.

“The more you do things, hopefully the better you get at it,” Bradley Jr. said. “It’s just one of those things where you just want to get better every single year.”

The Red Sox and their fans are not the only ones who took notice of Bradley Jr.’s season. WEEI’s Rob Bradford reported Nov. 12 that the Kansas City Royals and Chicago Cubs might be interested in the University of South Carolina product.

Trade rumors are another aspect of baseball Bradley Jr. doesn’t pay attention to this time of year.

“During the offseason, I don’t really focus too much on baseball,” he said. “(I’m) just working out and getting ready for the upcoming season but other than that, it’s pretty low key.”?

Bradley Jr. did watch the Royals win the World Series and was impressed by what he saw from them against the Mets.

“You’ve got to respect a team that caliber of play,” he said. “Anytime a team wins it, whether you like them or not, you’re going to respect them… They were a very special team. It was almost like they were destined to win this year.”

Pending a transaction between now and April, Bradley Jr. will try to help the Red Sox capture their ninth championship next season, their last opportunity to do so with David Ortiz. The 40-year-old designated hitter announced this past week that he will retire after Boston’s 2016 campaign.

Bradley Jr. said Ortiz helped him learn what it means to be a professional baseball player.

“I think that’s one of the most important things as a young player that you can learn from a veteran guy is how to approach the game a certain way,” said Bradley Jr. “He has a lot of knowledge and he’s willing to share it with you.”

Until he joins Ortiz and the rest of his teammates for spring training, you’re more likely to spot Bradley Jr. with a Playstation controller in his hands than a Louisville Slugger.

“Downtime is just as important as the time when you’re ready to go so (it’s about) being able to find a happy medium,” he said.

ahall@unionleader.com

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