BOSTON (CBS) — It did not take long for newcomer Steve Pearce to find his way into the Red Sox lineup.
Acquired from Toronto Thursday night, Pearce is in the Boston lineup Friday as they open an important three-game set against the Yankees in New York. The righty will bat cleanup and play first base in his Red Sox debut.
“Very excited. This was my childhood favorite team, so it’s great to be here,” Pearce told reporters at Yankee Stadium. “It’s nice to come here and play meaningful baseball.”
Pearce, a Lakeville, Florida native, said he grew up a Sox fan because of his family.
“I was brainwashed as a kid. I had no choice,” he explained.
Pearce’s success against Yankees starter CC Sabathia (4-3, 3.18 ERA for the season) likely played into Alex Cora’s decision to throw his new bat right into the Red Sox-Yankees fire. Pearce is 9-for-33 in his career against Sabathia, clubbing two homers and a pair of doubles. He’s also 26-for-87 with eight homers with a .975 OPS in his career in New York.
“It’s the greatest rivalry in sports,” Pearce said. “It’s a great division rivalry and when these teams play, they get after it. This has implications on the future; for the division, everything. This is a great place to start my Red Sox career.”
The Red Sox and Yankees enter their weekend series neck-and-neck in the AL East, with Boston owning a one-game lead over their rival. Here’s is Boston’s full lineup for Friday’s series opener:
1. Mookie Betts, RF
2. Andrew Benintendi, LF
3. J.D. Martinez, DH
4. Steve Pearce, 1B
5. Xander Bogaerts, SS
6. Eduardo Nunez, 2B
7. Rafael Devers, 3B
8. Christian Vazquez, C
9. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
— Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP