Red Sox prospect Michael Chavis had a crazy first day in the big leagues

Boston Herald |

--ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- When Michael Chavis' locker was still empty two hours before gametime on Friday night, Alex Cora was asked if the player was having travel issues.

"He'll get here in a little bit," Cora said.

But Chavis nearly missed his first at-bat in the big leagues.

He didn't arrive at Tropicana Field until the third inning Friday, when the Sox were already eyeing a pinch-hit situation for Chavis. His driver dropped him off at the wrong gate and the Sox' top prospect had to walk through three parking lots with his baseball bag and personal luggage to find the players' entrance.

By the time he finally walked in, the Sox were ready to use him.

"I walked in wearing jeans and a shirt and they're like, 'hey, get ready to hit in two batters,'" Chavis recalled on Saturday. "I thought they were messing with me. There's no way. I was in jeans and a T-shirt, hadn't stretched, no way. They were being serious. I got ready, took swings off a tee and luckily Christian Vazquez hit a bomb so I didn't have to hit.

"That would've been a tough first big league at-bat, just off a plane, a little arm stretch and get going. It was a hectic day."

The craziness started because the Sox weren't expecting to call up Chavis. They had planned on summoning Tzu-Wei Lin, but when Eduardo Nunez also needed to hit the injured list Friday morning due to a back strain, Chavis was a late addition to the active roster.

"I flew out yesterday at ," he said. "I woke up to three missed phone calls, thought I messed something up. Found out I was going to the big leagues and I was just waking up like, no way.

"My brother actually beat me here because my flight took so long. He drove from Alabama. Because my flight took so long he got here and was like, 'where are you?' I was like, 'I'm in the air.' I had Wi-Fi on the flights and getting texts from people on staff and I'm like, 'I'm literally in the air!'"

Cora didn't seem to care that Chavis had just arrived. The manager was ready to use him off the bench early in the Sox' 6-4 win over the Rays.

"I told him be ready, he might pinch hit," Cora said. "He'll most likely make his first start on Sunday. We'll see where. His family is here. He knows. Hopefully people can see him play. He's very excited. Swinging the bat well. We'll find at-bats for him."

Chavis was hitting .250 with a .954 OPS and four homers in 12 games in Triple-A Pawtucket.

"I don't really know if I'd call myself a fast starter," he said. "I just keep the same approach every day, stay consistent. I was hot in the first game, then had a skid there but I feel good about how I'm playing and going about my business every day.

"I think that's the biggest key is just to contribute. I'm not sure what my role will be. I'm here for a reason and whatever it is, that's what I'm here for. I'm not going to try to do too much, not going to try and be a superstar or anything like that. Just going to take care of my business and go about my days the way I have my past two years."

Though he's played five games at second base in the minors, the natural shortstop has primarily played third base since being drafted 26th overall in 2014. He's not expected to play much second base with Lin also on the roster.

"Feel pretty good at second," Chavis said. "We worked on it a lot in spring training. That's where I started my second base work. And doing early work every day, all the turns, different angle off the bat, just the footwork off the bag, double plays and everything. Just preparing every day, letting it translate to the game. I feel more and more comfortable every day."

Injured veteran Dustin Pedroia, who was teaching Rafael Devers some things on the field before Saturday's game, said he's planning on helping Chavis learn the position.

"We're all here to help in any way," Pedroia said. "Everybody here knows the goal is to win and it takes everybody. Anything you can do to help. Everyone here is here to help and give everyone a boost. We just want to make sure whoever comes in, if it's their first time, we welcome them and they're comfortable so they can relax and play. We'll do our best to make it happen. Just play. Have fun. It's the same game."

___

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