SEATTLE -- The first hit in the career of top Red Sox prospectRafael Devers was a laser-beam homer to center field at Safeco Field in the third inning of Wednesday afternoon's 4-0 win over the Mariners.It was quite a moment for the 20-year-old third baseman from the Dominican Republic, who
SEATTLE -- The first hit in the career of top Red Sox prospectRafael Devers was a laser-beam homer to center field at Safeco Field in the third inning of Wednesday afternoon's 4-0 win over the Mariners.
It was quite a moment for the 20-year-old third baseman from the Dominican Republic, who became the youngest player to go deep for the Red Sox in 52 years.
"It was surreal," Devers said through interpreter Daveson Perez. "When I got back to the dugout, I could barely walk, to be honest with you. I was just so happy about it. But it was a good moment."
Devers is the first Red Sox player to homer for his first MLB hit since Daniel Nava hit a grand slam on June 10, 2010. At 20 years and 275 days old, Devers is the youngest Red Sox player to homer since Tony Conigliaro (20 years, 265 days) in 1965.
According to Statcast™, the solo blast against Mariners right-hander Andrew Moore had an exit velocity of 108.5 mph and a projected distance of 427 feet.
The impressive home run came a day after the Red Sox acquired infielder Eduardo Nunez in a trade with the Giants, which has created the question of how long Devers will be on the roster.
Maybe that became less of a question after Wednesday's performance by the prospect, which also included a single. Devers went hitless in his debut on Tuesday, but he worked two walks and made several nice plays at third base.
"He hasn't hurt his cause by any means with what he's done in a very short look," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "We've talked quite a bit recently about the need to get offense, and today is a display of what he's capable of doing, so he's taking care of what he can on his end."
The Red Sox will make a roster decision prior to Friday's home game against the Royals. Third baseman Deven Marrero could be optioned to Triple-A instead of Devers. Shortstop Xander Bogaerts is 7-for-51 with two extra-base hits since being hit on the right hand by a pitch on July 6, so there's at least an outside chance he could go on the 10-day disabled list.
"I haven't really thought much about what's to come," said Devers. "But the way I've always been, wherever they put me to play, I'm going to give 110 percent and the cards are going to fall where they may."
When Devers connected, the entire Boston dugout felt young again.
"Everybody had their first and second day in the big leagues," said Red Sox lefty Chris Sale, who fired seven shutout innings for the win. "You go back to that time and think about what it was like. To see him here and doing what he's doing, he's the youngest guy in the big leagues by a pretty good margin. We saw him in Spring Training, and he's been tearing it up in the Minor Leagues, so we have all the confidence in the world in him, honestly."
"It was big," said center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. "It was a big-boy fly, too. First hit being a homer and to dead center at that, that was not a cheap shot. It looks like he's having a lot of fun."
Devers knew it was gone the instant it left his bat.
"I knew it was going out, but of course I have to run hard out of the box," said Devers.
Not only have the Red Sox lacked production at third base this season, but they've been short on power as a team, ranking last in the American League with 102 homers.
"He's got something special in that bat," said Farrell. "This is not an easy ballpark to hit a ball out to center field, regardless nighttime, daytime. He's been impressive in the two days he's been on the field."
The left-handed-hitting slugger is ranked as the No. 4 prospect in the game by MLBPipeline.com.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.