Alex Verdugo goes full heel after homering on first pitch at Fenway Park since Yankees-Red Sox trade

Say this for New York Yankees outfielder Alex Verdugo: He doesn't mind being the villain.

The 28-year-old returned to Fenway Park on Friday for the first time since the Boston Red Sox traded him to New York in a rare rivalry trade. Verdugo played four seasons in Boston, where he was known for his intensity as well as a solid bat.

He brought both for Friday's game, when he homered on his first pitch from former teammate Brayan Bello. After sending the ball 406 feet to the center-field stands, Verdugo made sure everyone knew about it as he rounded the bases (video above).

BOSTON, MA - JUNE 14: Alex Verdugo #24 of the New York Yankees reacts after hitting a two-run home run during the first inning of a game against the Boston Red Sox on June 14, 2024 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
Alex Verdugo had some fun after going deep against his old team. (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) (Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox via Getty Images)

It's hard to make out what Verdugo was yelling, but veteran lip-reader Jomboy interpreted it as, "Hell yeah, let me hear it!"

Verdugo arrived in New York last offseason in exchange for three pitchers — Richard Fitts, Greg Weissert and Nicholas Judice — in only the eighth Yankees-Red Sox trade of the divisional era (since 1969). The trade has worked out decently so far for Boston, as Weissert holds a 2.83 ERA in 29 appearances.

Verdugo actually had a conciliatory tone entering the game, praising Fenway Park and expressing curiosity about his reception. From MassLive's Chris Cotillo:

“Part of me, I’m excited,” Verdugo said during a conversation at Yankee Stadium over the weekend. “That’s my favorite ballpark and still is, to this day. I love the atmosphere, I love the layout of it. I’ve got a lot of friends over there on that team, too. To be able to see them is going to be refreshing and nice to see them again. But I’m also excited to play. I know when the game’s on, it’s gonna be competing like no other. I remember it from that side, being with the Red Sox. I expect it to be the same way.

“I’m curious to see how the fans take it, how the first greeting is, I guess,” he added. “I’m open to whatever they do. ... It is gonna be a very personal series, just because I was with them for the last four years. But I’m excited about it.”

That made what happened quite funny.

Advertisement