Jeter Downs made his major league debut with the Red Sox last night, but he didn't start in his usual position. He replaced Rafael Devers, who had a scheduled day off on Wednesday, at third base instead of playing shortstop.
Downs had not played third base since high school, but Cora and the rest of the Red Sox staff had confidence that Downs would be able to make it work.
"He's such a good athlete," Andy Fox, the Red Sox' major league field coordinator, said, via the Boston Globe. "That's going to take over instead of all the other stuff that comes with it."
Downs made two plays in the field in the first two innings of his MLB debut.
"Honestly, it felt pretty comfortable. I took the advice the guys gave me, just go out there and be an athlete. Play it like you're playing short, and that's what I did," Downs said after the game, via NESN.com.
At the plate, the 23-year-old was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Downs did not let his poor batting performance effect his mood, though.
"That was the coolest thing I've ever done in my life. I still can't believe it happened. I still can't believe the game's over. It felt so fast," Downs said. "Didn't turn out the way I wanted to, but oh well. The team got the win and that's the most important thing."
Just like the game, Downs' time in the Majors was also over quickly. After the 6-2 win against the Detroit Tigers that completed the Sox' sweep of the Tigers, the Sox optioned Downs to Triple-A Worcester.
Downs' positive, team-focused attitude along with his athleticism will take him far. He will eventually work his way back to the MLB, but for now he is relishing in the moment.
"That was insane. I had to step out and take a deep breath," Downs responded to reporters, who had asked about Red Sox fans cheering for him in the bottom of the eighth inning. "That was definitely surreal to have the whole Fenway chanting my name, chanting for a Jeter. It was super cool and super exciting. I thank God every day for this opportunity."