Alex Verdugo on Friday looked like the player he was traded for in Mookie Betts.
The 24-year-old right fielder hit two home runs and capped off the evening by robbing a home run in the ninth inning of the Red Sox’ 5-3 win over the Blue Jays.
Despite having a Betts-like performance against Toronto, and even though he was one of three players traded to Boston for Betts and David Price, Verdugo doesn’t want to be compared to Betts.
“I’m not replacing him,” Verdugo told reporters after Friday’s game. “Yeah, he played here, but this is a game. This is a business. He decided to go elsewhere. I’m not replacing him. That’s what you guys say. That’s what everybody else says. I’m going out there and playing right field, playing my game.”
Friday’s game continued what has been an impressive performance for Verdugo in the young season. He’s has a .294 batting average, which is the same from his 2019 season with the Dodgers, while hitting three home runs and knocking in four runs over 11 games.
While Verdugo’s game on Friday was a flash of what the former American League Most Valuable Player once brought to Boston, he said he doesn’t even “think” about Betts.
“I think he’s a great player, he did a lot for Boston, and he’s going to do a lot for the Dodgers,” Verdugo said. “I think about me being here and what I’m going to do and bring to the team. It’s not a comparable thing. I don’t like comparing it. I don’t like when people bring it up. Obviously, the nature of the trade, it’s going to happen. People are going to say it. I’m going to go out there. I’m gonna play my game and bring the energy that I bring. That’s how I always have been. I don’t care about shoes to fill or anything like that. I’m playing my game.”
Coincidentally, Betts also hit his third home run of the season in the Dodgers’ 7-2 win over the Giants on Friday night. Verdugo acknowledged that several people will continue to connect him and Betts, but he doesn’t view it that way.
“I think it’s weird so many media or fans, everybody wants to bring it up like it’s such a big deal,” Verdugo said. “To me, I don’t think of it like that. He’s not here. I don’t know. I’m not replacing him. Yeah, I was part of the trade or whatever. We’re out there playing games, man. We’re competing. I don’t think about it. I don’t know what people want me to say I do, because I don’t.”
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