Yorke singles in first AB: 'Baseball is fun'

March 1st, 2021

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The postgame Zoom session with the youngest player in Red Sox camp opened with an introduction.

"I'm Nick Yorke and I'm here and ready for questions," said Boston's first-round pick (17th overall) from the 2020 Draft.

Here is a question: How does an 18-year-old kid so calmly belt a single to right-center field in his first at-bat of his first Major League Spring Training game?

Here is an answer: He has nerves of steel.

"Once [the umpire] said, 'Play ball,' I was ready to go. We haven't been able to play on a field a lot in the past year," said Yorke. "Just to get on the field is just exciting again. You get to do what you love. I didn't have a lot of nerves. It's baseball. At the end of the day, it's just a game. I was just trying to go and have some fun."

Red Sox manager Alex Cora was taken aback in a good way from his pregame conversation with Yorke about plans for Monday's eventual 5-3 loss to the Braves.

"It's funny, because I told him before the game, 'Hey, you're playing second base,'" said Cora. "He's like, 'OK, cool.' I asked him, 'Are you nervous?' He was like, 'Nope.' I'm like, 'OK, good for you.' Probably I was more nervous for him. That's a good sign."

Cora called Yorke's Spring Training debut the highlight of the day for the Red Sox, and that was for fairly obvious reasons, aside from the fact the right-handed hitter reached base in both plate appearances, drawing a walk his second time up.

"I was thinking of where I was when I was 18, probably in Miami, going to Coconut Grove or something like that, hanging out," said Cora. "It was good, it was cool, that was tremendous. He's here to learn. He's here to be around big leaguers and learn how to act in the clubhouse, how to be a professional. You can see he controls the strike zone, controls his at-bats."

While Yorke -- Boston's No. 11 prospect as rated by MLB Pipeline -- knows he has years of development in front of him before he plays on a Major League field on occasions other than Spring Training, he is taking all the joy he can from this experience.

"It's fun. It is. Baseball's fun in my opinion," said Yorke. "Every time you touch the field or get the opportunity to go out and play, it's fun. It's what I love to do, and being able to do it as a career at 18, I mean, I'm not going to complain."