After wearing a Boston Red Sox uniform for the first five seasons of his big league career, Andrew Benintendi is now sporting the colors of the club’s biggest rival.
That might give Red Sox fans mixed emotions when Benintendi returns to Fenway Park for the first time since getting traded, but as a member of the New York Yankees.
While usually the sight of anyone in a Yankees uniform brings out the boo-birds from the Fenway faithful, one member of the Red Sox hopes the fans in attendance recognize Benintendi for all that he contributed during his tenure in Boston.
“I love that kid,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters prior to the contest, as transcribed by The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier. “I loved at 7:05, seeing him walk in front of me and saying, ‘Let’s kick some butt.’ ? He has a special place in my heart. ? He deserves a great ovation here.”
The Red Sox traded away Benintendi to the Kansas City Royals in February of 2021 as part of a three-team deal that also included the New York Mets. Boston got back Franchy Cordero and Josh Winckowski along with lesser-known prospects Grant Gambrell, Luis De La Rosa and Freddy Valdez in the trade.
Benintendi found himself on the move once again just prior to this season’s trade deadline with the Yankees looking to solidify their outfield unit by acquiring the 28-year-old. While Benintendi earned All-Star honors for the first time in his career this year with the Royals, he has struggled mightily since joining the Yankees. In pinstripes, he’s 7-for-40 (.175) at the plate with no home runs and five RBIs.
Benintendi was productive during his time with the Red Sox and was a key piece to the team’s run to a World Series title in 2018. In five seasons in Boston, Benintendi batted .273 with 51 home runs and 260 RBIs.
What treatment Benintendi, who is batting sixth in the Yankees lineup and playing left field, receives from Red Sox fans surely will be interesting as Boston and New York open up a pivotal three-game series Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET following 90 minutes of pregame coverage on NESN.