Prized Red Sox prospect Devers set for debut vs. Mariners (Jul 25, 2017)
SEATTLE -- No pressure, kid.
As if it weren't enough that his manager referenced the past three years the Boston Red Sox won World Series titles -- 2004, 2007 and 2013 -- when discussing the impact a young player could make on a ballclub, Rafael Devers will face a former Cy Young Award winner his first time in a major league lineup Tuesday.
"No pressure," the Boston Red Sox's top prospect said Monday through a translator while sitting in the third base dugout at Safeco Field. "It's the same baseball for me, and I'm just going to play with the same fun that I've always played with."
Devers, a 20-year-old third baseman, was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday. A left-handed hitter, he was held out of the lineup with Seattle starting left-hander James Paxton, but he is set to start Tuesday against longtime Mariners ace Felix Hernandez.
"He's an established big-leaguer. I've worked so hard because I want to be an established big-leaguer," Devers said of facing Hernandez his first time out. "Of course, I admire him. He's a pitcher who has won a Cy Young before. To be able to face him and watch him pitch will be an awesome experience."
Devers spent most of the season at Double-A Portland before a recent promotion to Triple-A. In nine games with Pawtucket, he hit .400.
After the Red Sox released Pablo Sandoval last week, they had a need at third base.
Enter Devers, who had to fly cross country to join the club as it opened a three-game series in the Pacific Northwest.
"I didn't feel any emotions really," Devers said of his flight. "I just wanted to get here so bad. I didn't even fall asleep on the plane. I was just so excited to get here."
Boston manager John Farrell said he could tell.
"He had a bigger smile today than in spring training," Farrell said. "He's an engaging young guy. He's full of life and loves to learn. We know we're going to have to protect him a little bit, but at the same time, here's a guy that's burst out -- he's 20 years old in the big leagues playing a position where you can't hide, and we're going to put him out there.
"We're hopeful he continues to do what he did in (Double-A) Portland and Pawtucket, and that's make an impact with the bat."
Devers might need some more work with the glove. He made four errors in his short stint with the PawSox, including two in his final game. He also had three hits that day.
"For me, the work is never done," Devers said. "I just want to learn how to be a superstar third baseman. Everyone tells me the only way to do that is through constant work, just like when you're hitting you have to do constant work. They told me daily work at third base is going to make a difference, make me the superstar I want to be."
As for Farrell, whose team is currently in first place in the American League East, bringing up the championship years?
"You can go back to '07, '13, probably even 2004, and it was the addition of young players from the system that might have been the element that pushed teams over the hump," Farrell said. "That's part of the energy that they bring, the newness that they bring, the thread that runs through it is original players, original Red Sox players. To me, that goes a long way."
Hernandez (5-4, 3.88 ERA) is 8-4 in 18 career starts against the Red Sox, including 5-2 with a 3.90 ERA at Safeco Field. King Felix spent nearly two months on the disabled list this season with inflammation in his right shoulder. Since his return June 23, he is 3-2 with a 3.25 ERA.
Hernandez will be looking to send the Red Sox to their fourth straight defeat, something that hasn't yet happened this season, and pull the Mariners (50-51) back to the .500 mark.
The Red Sox (55-46) plan to start left-hander Drew Pomeranz (10-4, 3.51 ERA), who has won a career-high four consecutive decisions. Pomeranz has made 12 career appearances against the Mariners, including three starts, going 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA.