Xander Bogaerts didn’t go into his home run trot right away when he crushed a grand slam in the bottom of the fifth inning Tuesday night against the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Boston Red Sox shortstop took a second and then a few more for good measure to watch it sail 421 feet over the Green Monster before flipping his bat and getting his jog around the bases underway.
It seemed out of character for the usual business-like Bogaerts, but he seemed to be soaking in the moment in what could be his second to last game in a Red Sox uniform with his future with the club uncertain going into the offseason, which will begin for Boston on Thursday.
But for Bogaerts, it was more about admiring a perfect hit that hasn’t come often for the four-time All-Star in a down season for the Red Sox that has featured power outages from their sluggers.
“I just wanted to watch it because I haven’t hit balls like that this year a lot,” Bogaerts told reporters following a rain-shortened win, as seen on NESN postgame coverage. “I just knew it was gone. I knew it was staying fair also. I hit that really good. It’s better than hitting little weak ground balls.”
Bogaerts demolishing the pitch off Rays southpaw Colin Poche with the bases loaded also gave Bogaerts’ teammates a chance to applaud the 30-year-old for all he has provided to the Red Sox this season and throughout his time with the organization.
“I was sitting down underneath but I was able to come out there as he was coming around the bases,” Red Sox starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi said, as seen on NESN postgame coverage. “Everything that he’s been able to do for the Red Sox, the everyday player that he is and teammate, just being able to go out there and be on the field every day and take those at-bats, just the threat that he is in the lineup and the leader he is for the team, he’s done so much. It’s nice to be able to see him go out there and hit that grand slam right there in the big moment of the game.”
Bogaerts could try to send another ball out of Fenway Park on Wednesday with the Red Sox wrapping up their season against the Rays. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. ET, and you can watch the game, plus an hour of pregame coverage on NESN.