BOSTON — Garin Cecchini and Alex Hassan now can fight for mantel supremacy.
Cecchini and Hassan, roommates at Triple-A Pawtucket, added a couple of souvenirs Sunday. Each collected his first major league hit in the Red Sox’s 4-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park. It was a special day for the tandem and the Red Sox, who continue to benefit from their minor league depth.
“We’re tapping into organizational depth, and guys are coming in and ready to contribute,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said after Sunday’s win.
Hassan, a native of Milton, Mass., was called up before Friday’s game, but Sunday marked his major league debut. The 26-year-old, who batted sixth and played right field against the Rays, singled into center field in the fourth inning for his first big league knock.
“If he goes out and puts up the at-bats we saw in spring training, he’s going to be just fine,” Farrell said before Sunday’s game. “He had probably some of the most consistent at-bats for the entire time that he was there with us.”
Cecchini, who is one of Boston’s top prospects, was called up Sunday and entered the game rather unconventionally. The 23-year-old was expected to be available off the bench, but he soon found himself thrust into action after Dustin Pedroia was ejected before the start of the fourth inning. Third baseman Jonathan Herrera shifted to second base and Cecchini took over at the hot corner following the ejection.
“I didn’t want him to come up and do nothing,” Pedroia joked after the game.
Cecchini, like Hassan, struck out looking in his first at-bat. But it wasn’t long before the energetic third baseman made contributions both offensively and defensively.
Brock Holt, who reached base five times, walked and stole second base in the seventh inning. Cecchini followed — after Xander Bogaerts’ strikeout — with a wall-ball double that gave him his first major league hit and RBI in one fell swoop.
Cecchini, whose defense has been described as a “work in progress,” flashed some leather in the eighth inning after the first two Rays hitters reached against Red Sox reliever Edward Mujica. Evan Longoria hit a high chopper that Cecchini fielded on an in-between hop before stepping on the bag and firing across the diamond for an inning-altering double play.
“He makes kind of a do-or-die play defensively. … In that moment, with two men on and them starting to get a little momentum, it was extremely timely and it shut down that eighth inning,” Farrell said.
The efforts put forth by Cecchini and Hassan certainly gave the Red Sox an additional shot in the arm, although Boston hardly needs it having now won seven in a row. It’s pretty amazing the production Boston has received from young guys — like Cecchini, Hassan, Holt, Brandon Workman and Rubby De La Rosa — who weren’t exactly expected to make contributions at this point in the season.
“When I come up here, or when anyone comes up here, you’re expected to win,” Cecchini said after Sunday’s victory. “To help the team win, that’s the biggest thing.”
Cecchini’s first major league stint was short, as he revealed after the game he’s headed back to Pawtucket. It’s likely Hassan will soon join him as the Red Sox get healthier, but the two certainly made a statement 45 miles north.
Photo via Twitter/FrankTank96