Red Sox

Xander Bogaerts exits Red Sox vs. Rays ahead of free agency, receives standing ovation

"My favorite guy, I'm telling you, without a doubt. The whole time I've been up here, that's my man."

Xander Bogaerts
Rafael Devers of the Red Sox and Xander Bogaerts in the dugout during the fourth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays. Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images

Red Sox star Xander Bogaerts was pulled from the final game of the 2022 season in the top of the seventh inning, giving fans in attendance on a rainy evening at Fenway Park a chance to give the star shortstop a standing ovation — perhaps for the last time.

Bogaerts is expected to opt out of the final year of his contract and become a free agent this offseason. While the NESN broadcast hinted it had an interesting conversation with Red Sox owner John Henry prior to Wednesday’s game, it’s unclear whether Bogaerts and the Red Sox will come to terms on a new deal.

“My favorite guy, I’m telling you, without a doubt,” Dennis Eckersley said on the NESN broadcast. “The whole time I’ve been up here, that’s my man.”


That statement carried some weight on Wednesday since Eckersley, who first started broadcasting with the Red Sox in 2009, is retiring from the NESN booth after this season.

Bogaerts is a popular figure. His teammates have called for the team to pay him in free agency. David Ortiz did as well. Like Eckersley, late Red Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy reportedly called Bogaerts his favorite Red Sox player.

“I know it’s coming down to the finish line and obviously stuff might get a little emotional,” Bogaerts said in September. “I’m just trying to enjoy the moment.”

On Tuesday, Bogaerts hit a grand slam in what might have been his penultimate Red Sox game. He sat back and admired it for a minute as it sailed out of the park.

“It’s just a matter of what’s going to happen in the future,” Cora said in September, when asked about Bogaerts. “But the way I feel about him and the way the organization feels about him is that we want him here, we want him to be his shortstop and want him to be hitting third for a long, long time.”

J.D. Martinez, meanwhile, will be a free agent as well and is likely to be headed elsewhere. In what might be his final game in a Red Sox uniform, Martinez homered twice — including an opposite field homer in the first inning that drew a “three-run Johnson!” call from Eckersley.

Martinez ripped a solo shot again in the bottom of the fourth.

Martinez was called away from the on-deck circle in the bottom of the eighth so fans could give him an ovation as well. Fans obliged, as did players in both the Red Sox and Rays dugouts.


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