Hosmer boards 'time machine' for debut with Sox in KC

First baseman honored in city where he won 2015 World Series with Royals

August 5th, 2022

KANSAS CITY -- Something old, something new. For Eric Hosmer, there were all types of emotions to deal with before he put on a Red Sox uniform for the first time on Thursday.

Hosmer was returning to Kansas City, the city where he helped lead the Royals to the 2015 World Series championship. It also happened to be the spot where he met his new teammates and exuded confidence that he and the Red Sox can do some special things in August and September. 

It didn’t begin on a winning note for Hosmer, as the Royals rallied for four runs in the seventh inning to snap a tie and go on to a 7-3 victory. But the Red Sox saw glimpses of what life could be like with Hosmer.

He went 0-for-3 with a walk in his debut. In his first Boston at-bat, Hosmer launched  a booming drive to center that was caught at the wall by Michael A. Taylor.

After facing his former team this weekend, Hosmer is looking forward to Tuesday, when he'll make his Red Sox debut at Fenway Park.

"I'm excited for that," Hosmer said. "It's a stadium I've always enjoyed playing in. When I'm going good, I tend to go to the opposite field."

Eric Hosmer, meet the Green Monster.

"That will give me more incentive and more drive to work the opposite field," Hosmer said. "I'm excited to get to that ballpark and hit in this lineup."

Manager Alex Cora had Hosmer hitting sixth and playing first base in the series opener vs. the Royals. It has been a whirlwind for Hosmer since Tuesday when he vetoed a trade to Washington and then learned he was being traded to the Red Sox, who coincidentally were headed for Kansas City. Hosmer hadn't been back to K.C. since signing with the Padres as a free agent. He would have been coming with the Padres Aug. 26-28, but the timetable was expedited.

"I felt like I was traveling on a time machine," Hosmer said. "Everything just kind of went fast-forward."

Hosmer walked into Kauffman Stadium at 1:30 p.m. CT and was immediately greeted by stadium workers. The greetings continued as he made it to the clubhouse to meet his Red Sox teammates. Even Royals catcher Salvador Perez made his way to the  Red Sox clubhouse to hug Hosmer, his longtime Royals' teammate and the only player from the 2015 championship team still on the roster.

All of that would never have happened if Hosmer didn't have a clause in his contract that enabled him to veto a trade that would have sent him to Washington. Because he did have that clause, Boston was able to get involved.

"Just all part of it," Hosmer said. "I really didn't know I was going anywhere until the last day. "

Hosmer had a chance to meet briefly with Cora and the positive vibes were strong.

"There are a lot of guys on this team who know how to win and have won before," Hosmer said.

Before Hosmer signed his free agent contract with San Diego in February 2018, the Red Sox had been in the running for his services.

"There was definitely mutual interest," Hosmer said. "But ultimately, the deal with San Diego got done."

Now, Hosmer is ready for his time with the Red Sox. He came to the plate for the first time with Boston in the first inning. There was another quick embrace with Perez before Hosmer tipped his helmet to the crowd which gave him a warm and loud ovation.

Against left-hander Kris Bubic, Hosmer made a bid for something spectacular with the drive that Taylor caught as he hit the wall.

"He has seen it all," Cora said of Hosmer. "Been there, done that. Played first base in the highest of games. We feel very comfortable with him."

The first-inning drive reminded Hosmer just how hard it is to get one out of Kauffman Stadium, particularly at night. With his first night as the Boston first baseman out of the way, Hosmer is looking for a lot of bright days ahead.

“Glad to get all that stuff out of the way in the most humble way possible,” Hosmer said. “Now we can get back to trying to win some ballgames.”