BOSTON — When Alex Verdugo surprisingly was traded from the Red Sox to the Yankees in the offseason, the outfielder admitted he was not only surprised but also wasn’t thrilled to leave Boston.

When the 2024 MLB season schedule was released, Verdugo admitted his return to Fenway Park was circled on his calendar.

“Yeah, I mean, it’s hard to say no,” Verdugo said. “Obviously, played here for a few years so … special, weird day for me. But I look forward to still playing baseball and having fun.”

Verdugo elaborated on why his return to Boston has been weird so far.

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“Just the last few years, I spent my time over here. It wasn’t on the visitor’s side,” he said. “Just a little bit different. But like I said, at the end of the day, we’re playing baseball. It will be the same thing we’ve done for years.”

While Verdugo expects the Fenway faithful to treat him as a Yankee, he cleared the air regarding his relationship with Red Sox manager Alex Cora.

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“I feel like for me and him, we’re fine. We’re good,” Verdugo said. “I’ve said it before, I think our families like each other. Our kids like each other.

“I think off the field, we have no problems at all. I think there were just a couple of minor things that we bumped heads on, and that’s fine. Not everybody is always going to agree on things. But really, I got nothing but respect for AC and hope him well as a manager, as a father as a person, outside of baseball and wherever life takes him.”

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Verdugo continued: “I’m a little tired of talking about AC when we’re talking about the Red Sox because of the way it ended. We’re still friends. Media and people blow it up. It was a simple thing as being two men who didn’t agree on something and bumped heads. We’re also men where we can kind of reconcile and talk to each other.”

Cora appears to feel the same way as Verdugo regarding their relationship.

“He’s a good kid. I think people are making too much of nothing, to be honest with you,” Cora said. “… We have a good relationship. It just happened last year, became public and I don’t understand what the big deal is.”

The Red Sox and Yankees open a three-game set Friday night. First pitch from Fenway is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., and you can catch all the action on NESN following an hour of pregame coverage.

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Featured image via Peter Aiken/USA TODAY Sports Images