A pair of Red Sox rookies played in their first major-league games on Sunday, and both collected their first major-league hits. Garin Cecchini and Alex Hassan were in the majors -- and the lineup -- for vastly different reasons, but both had a successful day at the plate to help the Red Sox complete the series sweep of the Rays and win their seventh game in a row.
The Red Sox promoted prospect Garin Cecchini to the majors on Sunday in case they needed help from the bench at a time when injuries have depleted it, and that move paid off almost immediately. Dustin Pedroia was tossed for arguing balls and strikes in the fourth inning of Sunday's contest against the Rays, making room for Cecchini in the lineup at third base after Jonathan Herrera switched to replace Pedroia at second. Cecchini would start a nifty double play late with some help from first baseman Brock Holt, but the real highlight was his first major-league hit (and extra-base hit) and RBI, courtesy of a wall ball:
That put the Red Sox up 4-0, which would end up being the final score. Cecchini finished the day 1-for-2 at the plate with that double, and might not be able to add to that until call-ups in September: Cecchini's expected to be sent back down to Triple-A Pawtucket once shortstop Stephen Drew is activated from his rehab assignment on Monday.
Alex Hassan will be sticking around for a bit, though, as he was called to the Red Sox on Friday to replace the injured Ryan Lavarnway on the bench. Hassan can play in the outfield corners as necessary, and will also see time at first base with both Mike Carp and Mike Napoli now on the disabled list -- that's how utility infielder Brock Holt ended up starting at first base for the first time in his career in this same game.
Hassan hit a single up the middle for his first big-league hit against Rays' starter (and former Red Sox pitcher) Erik Bedard:
Hassan would also later draw a walk against Rays' reliever Juan Carlos Oviedo, giving him a 1-for-3 day with a walk. It's not Hassan's first hit at Fenway Park, since he's participated in the Futures at Fenway games in the past, but it's the first big-league hit and walk of his young career. With all the injuries the Sox are dealing with, there will be opportunities for more over the next couple of weeks. Brock Holt is likely to continue to see the most playing time given his bat, but Hassan will see the big-league batters' box again before he's also optioned back to Pawtucket.