AP NEWS

Chavis Makes Good First Impression for Red Sox

February 24, 2019
Red Sox pitcher Josh Smith throws against the New York Yankees on Saturday in Florida. AP PHOTO Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

By Tom Keegan

Boston Herald

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The smooth transition to the minor leagues that infielder Michael Chavis anticipated as a teenager when he signed with the Red Sox out of Sprayberry High in Marietta, Ga., in 2014 never happened, which made his Grapefruit League debut Saturday all the more gratifying.

Chavis, expected to fill the utility infielder role, hit a three-run home run to right with two outs in the third inning off New York Yankees right-hander Drew Hutchison, the highlight of a five-run inning that led the Red Sox to an 8-5 victory over the Yankees at hot, steamy JetBlue Park.

“I didn’t have the most success immediately when I started pro ball,” Chavis said. “It was kind of up and down, inconsistent. ... I was 18. I was pretty stupid. I thought everything’s gold. Everything’s perfect. Everything’s going to fall into place.”

“Smart” was the word Red Sox manager Alex Cora used to describe Chavis after the game.

A strained oblique muscle kept Chavis out of spring training last season, denying him the opportunity to impress the new manager.

“Since day one (this spring) you can see the mechanics, and he has a pretty good idea what he wants to do at the plate,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “Very smart, too. Takes notes and all that stuff. He understands what he wants to do. That’s a pretty good sign right there.”

Chavis called hitting one out to right, “maybe a little more satisfying, because I feel in order to hit a home run to the opposite field, more has to go right in your swing. You can cheat sometimes and hit them pull-side.”

Chavis, 23, showed a sense of humor during his postgame interview when he impersonated a whiny voice: “Making myself available is the biggest thing, whether it’s first, second, third, playing in the outfield, wherever it is. I’m not going to sit in the minor leagues and say, ‘If I can’t play this position, I’m not going to do it.’”

Chavis has not worked out in the outfield this spring, but is expected to be used at all four infield positions throughout spring training and is likely to start the season in Triple A.