Alex Verdugo apparently isn't afraid of strong first impressions.
The new Red Sox outfielder, acquired from the Dodgers in the blockbuster that sent Mookie Betts and David Price to Los Angeles, initially was assigned No. 12, the number of former Boston utility man Brock Holt.
But Verdugo doesn't want to be the next Brock Holt, so he's changing his digits ... to No. 99.
"I looked through the roster, and that was the one that kind of stood out the most to me," Verdugo said Tuesday, via MLB.com's Dawn Klemish.
It stood out because no player in Red Sox history has ever worn No. 99. In fact, only two Red Sox players worn numbers in the 90s: Alfredo Aceves (2011-13) and Dalier Hinojosa (2015).
Verdugo, whose No. 27 he wore in L.A. is retired for Carlton Fisk in Boston, said he didn't want a number that a Sox player had previously worn. He also admitted his choice was inspired by former Red Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez, who wore No. 24 in Boston but rocked No. 99 for the Dodgers from 2008 to 2010.
"Hopefully I’ll do the number justice for him," Verdugo said, adding that he hopes to meet Ramirez one day.
Of course, Verdugo won't be the first No. 99 in the American League East, as Aaron Judge has represented the number quite well for the New York Yankees. (The other three No. 99s in the majors are all pitchers: Hyun-Jin Ryu, Taijuan Walker and Kenyan Middleton.)
Verdugo is expected to miss Opening Day while recovering from a stress fracture in his back. But if the 21-year-old can channel even some of Judge and Ramirez's prowess at the plate, Red Sox fans will take to No. 99 quickly.