After Alex Hassan recorded his first major league hit, a single to center field in his major league debut in the fourth inning off Rays left-hander Erik Bedard on Sunday afternoon, the Rays threw the ball to the Red Sox dugout as is customary. After the game, 4-0 Sox, Hassan was unsure what he would do with the ball.
“Maybe give it to my parents,” said Hassan, who also recorded his first run later in the fourth when he scored on Brock Holt’s double.
The commemorative ball would be a perfect addition for the kid who grew up in Milton, Mass., and went to BC High before moving south to Duke, where he was drafted by the Red Sox in the 20th round in 2009.
Hassan’s hit followed Jonny Gomes’ single leading off the fourth in a scoreless game. Hassan and Garin Cecchini became the first pair of Sox rookies to make their big league debuts in the same game since Sept. 5, 1993, when Greg Blosser and Jeff McNeely did so, and the first pair to make their debuts and record a hit in the same game since Sept. 28, 1975, when Steve Dillard and Andy Merchant did so.
While Cecchini returned to Pawtucket after the game, Hassan will stay with the Sox for the time being.
Hassan was called up on Friday, taking the place of Ryan Lavarnway who was placed on the disabled list with a left hamate fracture. But Hassan didn’t see any action for the first two games of his stint with the Sox.
On Sunday, though, his name was in the starting lineup in right field. He is the first player born in Massachusetts to start for the Red Sox since Mark Bellhorn (South Weymouth) in 2005, and the first outfielder to start since Billy Conigliaro (Revere) in 1971.
After the game Hassan acknowledged he had been a little nervous going out to right field to start the game.
“Definitely a day where there were a lot of emotions,” Hassan said. “It’s tough to really put into words how I feel at this point. It happened very quickly.”
“It was probably the most fun I’ve had on a baseball field.”