BOS@OAK: Bogaerts snatches a liner to rob Lowrie

OAKLAND -- Manager John Farrell kept slumping third baseman Xander Bogaerts out of the lineup on Saturday after talking with him "at length" about his recent struggles.

The 21-year-old is 4-for-43 (.093) since June 8, and he is hitless in his last 12 at-bats.

"Having a chance to sit with him this morning, I don't think it's him trying to make up for previous at-bats, or pressing to do more," Farrell said Saturday. "I think there's just been a stretch of time here where he's just missed his pitch on the plate."

Jonathan Herrera got the start at third base in place of Bogaerts, and Farrell said Herrera would play shortstop on Sunday to give Stephen Drew a day off.

A few months into Bogaerts' first full season in the Majors, opposing pitchers are beginning to make adjustments.

"You see that there are specific areas to the strike zone that they're trying to go to," said Farrell. "The up and in, down and away areas they're trying to exploit, and that's where I think sometimes his frustration comes in."

Farrell does not believe Bogaerts' struggles at the plate are related to his transition from shortstop to third, where he has committed four errors in 16 games since June 2.

"There's been maybe a couple of plays where he's rushed his throws at times, but that's not filtering into his hitting," Farrell said. "He's confident that's not part of it."

Farrell offers unsolicited praise for Betts

Pleskoff on Mookie Betts' athleticism, speed

OAKLAND -- As reporters probed manager John Farrell for updates on a handful of injured Red Sox on Saturday -- Shane Victorino, Mike Carp, Will Middlebrooks, Andres Torres -- Farrell tossed another name into the discussion: Mookie Betts.

Betts, the team's No. 5 prospect, is healthy, and he continues to turn heads at Triple-A Pawtucket.

"I don't have a real update on that as of yet," Farrell said when asked about Torres' progress. "I know Mookie Betts is swinging the bat well," he added, drawing some laughs.

Selected in the fifth round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, Betts is batting .348 with eight home runs and 46 RBIs this season between Double-A and Triple-A.

"I'm not suggesting anything, other than we recognize and watch what he's doing daily," said Farrell. "The fact that he's in Triple-A, he's clearly on the radar."

Betts began his career as a shortstop and shifted to second base, but he has recently seen time in center and right.

"We're not ready to anoint him a regular center fielder, or a regular outfielder, but his athleticism certainly plays there," Farrell said.

It could be a while before Betts make his Major League debut, but he is displaying his versatility on defense and a knack for getting on base.

He has the skipper's attention.

"Time frame, no indication to it," Farrell said. "He's doing everything he can, though, to put himself on that track."

Worth noting

• Victorino (right hamstring strain) did not play with Pawtucket for a third straight day Saturday. He plans to at least take batting practice on Sunday. Farrell would still not rule out a return during this West Coast trip.

• Middlebrooks (fractured right index finger) was slated to play third base Saturday and get three or four at-bats for the PawSox.

"While he still has some soreness in the finger, he's getting back to more game-speed game activity," Farrell said.