“I mean, it’s amazing,” Vaughn said before playing his first game at Fenway Park. “This field is historic.”
BOSTON — Rookie Andrew Vaughn would never have guessed his eighth major league start would go down backed up to the Green Monster at Fenway Park, but there he was Saturday, a first baseman converted to left field just a few weeks ago playing one of the trickiest outfield spots in the game.
“I mean, it’s amazing,” Vaughn said before the game. “This field is historic.”
Vaughn took a tour of the field when he played in the Cape Cod League, so he had seen it up close. But not with an outfielder’s glove on his left hand.
“There’s that huge green monster out there,” he said. “We went out there earlier, took some balls off the wall. Knowing I don’t have to play as deep, because if it’s over my head, it’s going to hit the wall. And if it hits the wall, I’ve just got to be ready to get it on a bounce and throw it in to second base. Another thing is there’s not much foul ground so you’ve got to know how far you can go without running into that wall.”
Vaughn, viewed through spring training as the likely designated hitter until Eloy Jimenez got hurt, was batting .136.
“It’s definitely a learning curve,” he said. “This game ain’t easy. It’s gonna get you and you’ve just got to keep going, battling and trusting yourself, trusting the process and just go out there and try to win ball games.”
Fenway Park was as good as any place to try.
“It’s humbling, you get to be here and be on the big stage,” he said. “Just got to enjoy it.”
La Russa switched Jose Abreu (fourth) and Yoan Moncada (third) from the lineup spots they’ve held all season, citing Abreu’s history of succeeding with runners on base as a way to get him going. While having a 12-game streak of reaching base safely snapped Thursday, Abreu was batting .184 entering the game. And Moncada was at .191.
The strategy worked. After Adam Eaton and Moncada walked against right-hander Nick Pivetta, Abreu doubled down the third base line to score Eaton. Moncada scored a second run on Yermin Mercedes’ ground out.
Next man up
With Friday’s rainout, the Sox could have pitched both Dallas Keuchel and Lucas Giolito Sunday and Carlos Rodon but chose to push Giolito and Rodon, who threw 114 pitches in his no-hitter Wednesday, back for an extra day of rest.
A 27th man, a pitcher, will be activated Sunday for the split-squad doubleheader and it could be a starter for the second game after lefty Dallas Keuchel starts game 1.
Right-handers Jonathan Stiever and Alex McRae are on the five-man taxi squad and Stiever, who is on the 40-man roster, would be a candidate. The taxi squad travels with the team.
Shortstop Luis Aparicio made his major-league debut on 65 years ago Saturday against the Indians and went on to win the AL Rookie of the Year award to begin a Hall of Fame career with the White Sox (1956-62, ‘68-70), Orioles (1963-67) and Red Sox (1971-73). He was selected to 13 All-Star games, won nine Gold Gloves, and led the AL in stolen bases nine straight seasons (1956-1964).
“I remember arriving at the stadium and it was incredible,” Aparicio said. “I didn’t have fear but once I went on the field and the umpire said ‘Play ball’ I started feeling the butterflies in my stomach.”
Calming words from Indians infielder Chico Carrasquel helped, Aparicio said. Aparicio’s first hit, a single, came against Hall of Fame right-hander Bob Lemon in the seventh inning.
“I accomplished my goal to reach the majors and when I retired I fulfilled the promise I made to my dad: I was second to none,” Aparicio said.
This and that
Outfielder Nick Williams cleared waivers and was outrighted to Schaumburg.