Red Sox

Alex Verdugo had the best reaction to meeting David Ortiz at Red Sox camp

Alex Verdugo had the best reaction to meeting David Ortiz at Red Sox camp

Alex Verdugo wasn't lying.

Shortly after joining the Red Sox in Boston's blockbuster trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the young outfielder said he'd give David Ortiz "the biggest hug" when he first met him.

Guess who showed up to Red Sox spring training Thursday in Fort Myers?

And guess how Verdugo greeted him?

The 23-year-old literally jumped out of his chair and ran over to embrace Ortiz, who's on Boston's payroll as a special assistant after retiring as a player in 2016.

Verdugo grew up in Arizona but rooted for the Red Sox thanks in large part to Ortiz, whom Verdugo idolized as a kid. (Verdugo was eight years old when Big Papi helped Boston win the World Series in 2004.)

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"David Ortiz was just the man, dude," Verdugo said earlier this week, via Mass Live's Christopher Smith. " ... That was like my main guy. I’m telling you, I’m so excited to meet him."

That excitement was on full display Thursday in Fort Myers, where the Red Sox are hoping Verdugo can take a few pointers from his childhood hero.

Who are the best catchers in Red Sox history? Ranking the Top 5

Who are the best catchers in Red Sox history? Ranking the Top 5

For a position so essential to baseball — no player handles the ball more often — the catching ranks in Red Sox history are surprisingly shallow.

Multiple seasons belong to players like Johnny Peacock, Pinch Thomas, Hick Cady, Roxy Walters, and Muddy Ruel, names that sound like they should belong to bouncers before big leaguers.

The dearth of catching talent may partly explain why the Red Sox routinely featured lousy starting rotations, at least until Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, and Co. arrived to give the club perennial Cy Young contenders no matter who squatted behind the plate.

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Had this list extended to 10 instead of five, some of the names would surprise you. Wally Schang, anyone? How about Bill Carrigan? There'd definitely be room for Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Anyway, the overall talent level may be thin, but the top five are legit, with three All-Stars and two Hall of Famers.

Click here for the top five catchers in Red Sox history.

Dave Roberts says former Red Sox Mookie Betts 'loves' being a Dodger

Dave Roberts says former Red Sox Mookie Betts 'loves' being a Dodger

Are Dave Roberts' latest comments about Mookie Betts just wishful thinking or reality?

The Los Angeles Dodgers manager said some interesting things about his new right fielder on ESPN's "The Sedano Show" Monday, including that he knows how Betts feels about being in Dodger blue.

I think him being in spring training with us — the relationship I have with him personally, and I think some players too, and coaches — it feels like he’s already played a season with us, which is strange. … Mookie’s gotta do what’s best for him and his family once that time does present itself, but I know that he loves being a Dodger.

After just eight spring training games, Betts "loves" being a Dodger? It seems like a stretch, but maybe getting out of Boston was that much of a relief for the 27-year-old.

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With the 2020 season on pause due to the coronavirus outbreak, it's possible we never see Betts play a regular-season game for the Dodgers. Major League Baseball and the MLB Players' Association agreed on a settlement that would let all pending free agents hit the open market if the coming season is canceled.

Betts, the 2018 American League MVP and World Series champion, likely will test free agency come 2021, and the Dodgers will have to pay a hefty price to keep him in L.A. 

If Dodgers ownership and team president Andrew Friedman decide to shell out the cash, then Betts will probably "love" being a Dodger even more.