BOSTON (CBS) – Xander Bogaerts had a chance to soak everything in Monday night, his first day as a Major Leaguer.
So when it came to making his long-awaited debut Tuesday night, Bogaerts was calm and ready.
Bogaerts began his Red Sox career by going 0-for-3 and stranded five runners at the plate, but the 20-year-old shortstop is here, and he’s here to stay.
“I can’t describe it — it’s definitely something I’ve been waiting my whole career for,” Bogaerts said of his debut — according to the team’s website.
Bogaerts grounded out twice and struck out before being removed in a double switch in the sixth inning. He came up with the bases loaded in his first at bat in the first inning, and nearly got his first big league hit out of the way. But his hard grounder was deflected by Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong to second baseman Marco Scutaro, and the rookie and side were retired with the Red Sox only putting across one run.
“I thought when I hit that ball it would probably pass through,” he said of his first inning at-bat.
While he couldn’t get it done at the plate, he did flash some nice leather in the field. In the bottom of the fifth, the Giants had just cut it to a 2-1 game and had the tying run on third. With two outs, Scutaro hit a slow roller to short, which Bogaerts charged and fired to first to retire the side and the threat.
It was a big play that got Jake Peavy out of a jam, and it got the starter’s attention.
“He acted like he belonged. He had some good at-bats. That ball was very close to going up the middle in his first at-bat, and that’d have been a huge lift and the ballgame would have swung differently if that ball doesn’t hit off Vogelsong. But X, he’s going to be fine. Great player.”
Boston manager John Farrell was not only impressed with Bogaerts’ poise on the field, but off it as well.
“I think what’s been most impressive, up to now, is not only what he’s done at the minor league level, but the way he’s handled [the media],” Farrell said after Boston’s 3-2 loss. “Very genuinely, very naturally. I think that’s how he goes about his work day to day. I think he’s relaxed around this environment.”
While he hasn’t added a major league hit to his resume just yet, Bogaerts may not have to wait long. Manager John Farrell said he likes Bogaerts against left-handers, and with Barry Zito on the hill in Thursday’s series finale, the rookie phenom will likely be right back in the lineup — either at short or third base.
Bogaerts hit .298 off lefties in Pawtucket with a .452 OBP and .926 OPS, and with the debut jitters out of the way, those numbers may start translating into the majors.