Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo made some highlight plays after losing 4-2 to the Yankees on Saturday. He also added some sparkle to his play.
Verdugo knocked out his first homer of the season in the second inning, hitting a two-run shot 382 feet into the right field of Yankees starter Luis Severino. The ball was clearly headed for the bleachers as soon as it came off the bat, and Verdugo knew it too. He explained why he stood in the batsman’s box for a few moments to admire his home run.
“It’s the feeling,” said Verdugo. “Honestly, there’s nothing better than hitting a home run in New York.”
But Verdugo didn’t end his domestic celebrations here. As he rounded the bases, he waved to Yankees fans in left field and then to his family in the bleachers.
Verdugo wanted to make sure he “got” Yankee fans who were trash-talking him after a home run.
“I mean, left field, there was just a bunch of friends talking, chanting and then talking about how they talk to me,” Verdugo said. “When I scored the second goal, I wanted to make sure they knew, ‘I got you.’ And then in the family section, I’ve got my family here. So obviously in the third round I pointed them, at my mom, my girl and my kids. Special moments.”
However, when Verdugo went back to field left in the bottom half of the innings, he said that Yankees fans were going with their garbage talk, saying, “They just keep going.”
Verdugo just kept going. At the bottom of the seventh inning, Yankees catcher Kyle Higashioka’s line drive to the left looked like he was about to fall for a hit. As the ball was falling, Verdugo went on to make a grab, saving a hit.
The play had no effect on the final score (at the time it was already 4-2), but it was another highlight for Verdugo on the field. He made some exciting plays on the left side during opening day, one of which saved a run in the fifth inning when the game was level.
Verdugo shared that he already has “built-in adrenaline” entering the season-opening series, especially against the Yankees.
“When you play big league baseball in general, it’s the best thing. I’m blessed to have it as a living and call it my job,” Verdugo said. “Every time I step on the field and do this, I’m a little kid all over again. I’m just enjoying it and it’s a great experience to start here in New York.”
Last season, Verdugo really had a moment where he got a little tested with Yankees fans. During a game in July, a fan threw a baseball at a Red Sox’s left fielder when he was not looking. Verdugo was so upset by the action that the game was delayed for a few moments while the umpires and stadium staff tried to resolve the situation.
Though putting that incident aside, Verdugo said that he enjoys trash-talking Yankees fans. And while Verdugo certainly produced some impressive plays worthy of respect, he believes his ability to dish-and-take with Yankees fans should earn him his respect.
“I think in a way, they should,” Verdugo said. “They just need to know that it’s hard to get under my skin, hard to get into my head. Guys, they raged on me a lot on the team. So whatever.” [the fans] Say, it’s not a big deal. They raise the family, they raise everyone, and you just have to laugh and laugh and use it as fuel to create drama or get something done. ,
So far, Yankees fans have a little more ammo to talk about in the youth season. New York came back several times on Opening Day and won 6–4 in the extras. And while Verdugo made some good plays on Saturday, it was all for naught as Anthony Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton each made home runs in consecutive games while the Yankees’ bullpen closed the Red Sox.
Verdugo and the Red Sox will look to avoid being swept away in their opening series for the second year in a row on Sunday. Tanner Hawke will be on the mound in Greeley Tribune and the Yankees will take on the perfect Jordan Montgomery.
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