Top prospect's blast vs. Yanks draws rave reviews from teammates
NEW YORK -- When the soaring blast left his bat, Xander Bogaerts couldn't immediately soak in the joy of his first Major League home run.
"After I hit it, I kind of cramped up a little bit. I wasn't even paying attention to where the ball was, actually," said Bogaerts, who is the Sox's No. 1 prospect. "Once I got to first base, I started looking to see where it was going. I really didn't think about it. I was worried more about my cramp."
The cramp in his left leg subsided and Bogaerts enjoyed the rest of the trot around the bases after a shot that landed over Boston's bullpen and into the bleachers in center field. Anyone who is familiar with the dimensions of Yankee Stadium knows that to hit the ball where Bogaerts did, it was a certified rocket.
The Red Sox, who beat the Yankees, 13-9, collected the ball from a fan, and Bogaerts had it by the end of the game.
"Good to get it out of the way as quick as possible, just like the first Major League hit," Bogaerts said. "It's good to always get those as quickly as possible."
Considering that Bogaerts has been used on a part-time basis since his recall from Triple-A Pawtucket, the Red Sox have become impressed that he always seems to produce when he plays.
"Just an easy swing by Xander," said manager John Farrell. "Today, what's impressive more than anything is without regular at-bats, and to step in, a double in his first at-bat, a home run later on, he made plays very easily defensively. Today was a glimpse of why people are so high on him as a player, even at this very early stage of his career. He's just very comfortable at this level."
Bogaerts, who hadn't started in six days, felt a little rusty going into Saturday's game. But he quickly shook it off.
"You know, until today, I wasn't sharp at all," said Bogaerts. "I was bad at BP. I just went back to my leg kick. I always had my leg kick. I went back to it. And I got some new bats, I tried them out and it worked out good. It's a credit to the bat. When I got that opportunity to play today, I made it special."
Though the home run drew most of the buzz, Bogaerts also made a highlight-reel play on defense, making a barehanded play to take a hit away from Robinson Cano in the bottom of the fifth.
"That was a sick play," said Red Sox right-hander John Lackey.
The Red Sox are enjoying watching their promising young player take his first Major League steps.
"I remember my first home run and how I felt. It's a special moment in his career, and we're all excited for him," said Mike Napoli. "He's got a lot of talent, and it was just something good to see."