PORTLAND, Maine — Peter Hissey is one of those versatile players every baseball team likes to have on its roster.
A center fielder by trade, Hissey spent his first four pro seasons at the position.
But he has also played left field and right field for the Portland Sea Dogs, while making zero errors through 44 games.
He is hitting .265 with two homers and 23 runs batted in. He has 11 doubles and two triples.
According to Sea Dogs manager Kevin Boles, Hissey is an impressive outfielder with above-average range who gets a good jump on the ball. He also has a strong, accurate arm.
“He has done a real nice job playing all three positions,” said Boles.
Hissey enjoys all three positions and while he said it requires an adjustment, it’s not a major one.
“If you can play center, you can adapt to the other two,” said Hissey. “I’m happy to do it.”
Hissey takes pride in his outfield play.
“I love playing the outfield,” he said. “I try to make an impact on defense.”
He studies hitters during batting practice and games, reads the scouting reports and also devises his own on each hitter.
“I like to see what their tendencies are and where they are likely to hit the ball. I try to see what they do with certain pitches and I read the swing and make the best play I can off the bat,” said Hissey, who led all Class A Carolina League outfielders in putouts with 269 in 2010.
Hissey is a left-handed hitter who sprays the ball to all fields, according to Boles.
“He has done very well. He’s definitely getting stronger with the bat,” said Boles. “He can also [execute] the short game. You can hit-and-run with him. He’s versatile in his offensive approach.”
Hissey will also put down a bunt either for a sacrifice or a base hit.
“Everyone has to know how to bunt at this level. It’s important for the end of games and the playoffs. I love doing it. It’s a great weapon,” said Hissey.
Being a threat to bunt also opens up more infield hitting space because the first and third baseman have to play in more to respect the bunt.
“I try to do what’s best for the team,” said Hissey, who is hitting .324 with runners on base.
Hissey said he relaxes with men on base and tries to make things happen.
The 23-year-old Hissey is a native of West Chester, Pa. He had signed a National Letter of Intent to attend the University of Virginia, but the Red Sox drafted him in the fourth round in 2008. He decided to sign with them, collecting a signing bonus of $1 million.
“At the end of the day, I wanted to be a professional baseball player, and they gave me the opportunity to do that,” he said.
He has moved his way up the ladder, stealing 22 or more bases three consecutive seasons before being promoted to the Sea Dogs last year where he stole 15 bases in 70 games while hitting .250 with one homer and 27 RBIs.
This season, he has 12 stolen bases in 16 attempts. His 12 steals are second on the team behind Shannon Wilkerson’s 16. And Wilkerson had played in 26 more games.
Hissey said he watches a pitcher’s back foot and also tries to time up the pitcher’s delivery when he is looking to steal a base. A pitcher has to pivot his back foot in order to throw to first.
“I try to make sure I get a real good jump,” said Hissey.
A year ago, he missed two months after breaking his hand. This season, he fractured a finger which kept him sidelined for a week and suffered a groin pull that kept him out for two weeks.
But he is healthy now and happy with his season to date.
“Things have been going real well,” said Hissey. “Being in AA is a great spot for me [at this stage]. I started young and now I have six years under my belt.”
Hissey comes from an athletic family with his father Dave playing baseball at William and Mary and his mother Laurie playing tennis there. His brother Dave played baseball at Emory University (Ga.) and played briefly in the Philadelphia Phillies’ organization after being drafted in the 50th round. Younger brother Ryan played baseball at William and Mary last season and was chosen to the Colonial Athletic Association All-Rookie team.
Bard could return soon
Former Boston Red Sox reliever Daniel Bard is recuperating from an abdominal injury but could be back soon, according to Boles.
Bard hasn’t pitched since May 15.
“He has started long-toss and could begin a rehab assignment within the next couple of weeks,” said Boles.
Bard began the season with the Red Sox but was sent down to Portland where he was 0-1 with a 6.39 earned run average in 13 appearances. In 12 ⅔ innings, he walked 17 and surrendered 13 hits and nine earned runs. He struck out six.
He had two relief outings for the Red Sox in April totaling one inning.