Red Sox catching prospect Connor Wong will make his first career start behind the plate while batting out of the nine-hole in Saturday night’s contest against the Yankees at Fenway Park.
The 25-year-old — one of three players acquired from the Dodgers in the infamous Mookie Betts/David Price trade — debuted for the Sox as a pinch-runner that same night and scored the winning run in the 11th inning of an eventual 9-5 victory over the Rays at Tropicana Field, becoming the first American League rookie to pinch-run in extra innings and score in his debut since Cal Ripken Jr. did so in 1981.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora initially had Wong lined up to make his first start on Sunday, but two factors led to the sudden change.
First, Wong has some familiarity with Saturday’s starter, Nathan Eovaldi. Second, Cora wants to keep Christian Vazquez and Eduardo Rodriguez together for Sunday’s series finale against New York.
In the early stages of spring training this year, Eovaldi had mentioned that Wong caught several of his bullpens over the winter since the two hail from and reside in the Houston-area during the offseason.
“Over the years, I’ve been able to acquire a pretty good workout setup in the garage and everything like that,” Eovaldi told NESN’s Tom Caron back in February. “So I’ve been able to get all my workouts done. And then this offseason as well, I was able to throw to Connor Wong a lot. So, that was nice having a solid catcher behind the plate and being able to work with him.”
The Eovaldi-Wong tandem will debut at approximately 7:15 p.m. Friday night as the Red Sox (45-31) go for the series win over the Yankees (40-35).
Here is how the rest of the Sox will be lining up against Yankees left-hander Jordan Montgomery:
The game will be broadcast on FOX. First pitch, again, is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. ET.
(Picture of Connor Wong: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)