BOSTON -- No major leaguer ever forgets his first game in the big leagues.
That would seem to be especially true for Dalier Hinojosa.
Promoted from Pawtucket Friday afternoon, Hinojosa finally got into a game Sunday night. When he did, it was hardly your typical scenario.
With the Red Sox trailing by three but attempting to claw back against the New York Yankees, it was Hinojosa's job to keep the visitors within striking distance in the top of the eighth inning.
All he had to do was face Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann with runners at the corners and one out.
"Definitely a unique sensation,'' said Hinojosa through a translator, "especially having my big league debut in that situation, especially against Alex Rodriguez. But it was nice. I was excited. I'm just glad it turned out the way it did.''
Hinojosa struck out Rodriguez, and after issuing a walk to Teixeira, retired McCann on a flyout to right.
In the next inning, command issues developed. He faced six New York hitters in the ninth and walked two hit and hit another. But he didn't allow a hit and kept the Yankees from building on their lead.
"Little bit of a jam to walk him into his major league debut,'' admitted John Farrell. "But I thought he threw a number of quality fastballs and then when the pitch count climbed (to 40 pitches), that's the most he's thrown all year.
"So it was getting to the end of the night but found a way to record the final out.''
Hinojosa conceded that his command wasn't as sharp as he would have liked. But though excited by his debut, he maintained that nerves weren't an issue in his occasional inability to find the plate.
"I can't say for sure that that was a factor,'' said Hinojosa. "Obviously, the control wasn't where you'd ideally want it to be for some at-bats. But the most important thing is that we were able to get out of the inning both times. That's the most important thing.
"It will be a learning experience for next time when you try to balance emotions and all that.''
The "next time" may have to wait for a while. Hinojosa was busily packing his equipment bag after the game, an indication that he had been optioned back to the minor leagues to create a roster spot for utility infielder Luis Jimenez, who was claimed off waivers from Milwaukee Sunday and will be added to the major league roster Monday.