Once upon a time, Mookie Betts was a second baseman coming up through the Boston Red Sox organization.
Betts has been patrolling the outfield for the Red Sox for the past four seasons, but he made his triumphant return to the middle infield Friday during Boston’s 4-1 win over the New York Yankees at Fenway Park.
With Ian Kinsler exiting the game with hamstring tightness, Betts asked acting manager Ron Roenicke if he could play second base, and the bench coach obliged.
Betts took over at second base in the top of the second inning and the ball immediately found him. Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks hit a rope up the middle that Betts had to drop to his knees to field before throwing on to first.
Manager Alex Cora, who was ejected in the bottom of the first inning, enjoyed watching Betts play second and poked some fun at his fielding technique after the game.
“Excellent, he did an outstanding job,” Cora said after the game, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “He made a good a tackle on the ground ball, went to his knees and threw the ball there. He’s a great athlete.”
While it certainly wasn’t Betts’ smoothest fielding job of his career, the Red Sox star acquitted himself admirably before heading back to right field in the eighth inning.