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Jeter Downs, who would have played in the Red Sox, made his MLB debut on Wednesday, going 0-for-4 with three strokes while playing third in Boston’s 6-2 win over the Detroit Tigers.
The Downs, who was acquired by the Red Sox in a 2020 deal that sent right-back Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers, is named after former New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter.
And the Hall of Fame chirp A congratulatory message to Downes before his debut: “He had the chance to meet Tweet embed A few years ago (not with the Red Sox then). Congratulations and good luck…unless you’re playing with the Yankees.”
According to NESN, Fenway Park erupted into a Jeter hymn during the eighth round of Game Downs.
“That was crazy,” Downes said. “I had to go out and take a deep breath. Nothing like this had happened before. It was definitely surreal to have the entire Fenway chanting my name, chanting my Jeter. It was so amazing and so exciting. I thank God every day for this opportunity.”
Update (2:04 PM): Chris Cotillo of Masslive.com stated that “The Red Sox have chosen to return Jeter Downs to Worcester. Christian Arroyo expected to take his place in Cleveland (Friday).”
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Downes explained his relationship with Jeter in a conversation with MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon in 2017.
When he came to the major leagues [in 1995]was the name. It was the thing. It was shining. It was “Jeter this, Jeter that.” It was actually my mom’s idea. My brother got Jerry from my father [Jerry Sr.]. It was my mom’s turn to choose a name since I was a second child. I just fell in love with Jeter and the way he plays, his humility, and how he carried himself on and off the court.”
Downs does everything he can to live up to his name. “I try to do the right thing on and off the field, whether it’s baseball-related, out with friends, or helping someone out on the street,” Downs said, in the Boston Globe. “It’s kind of ironic that I have a name because that’s exactly the person I introduce myself after.”
Downs hit 0.180 with 11 home points and 11 stolen bases in 53 games with Triple-A Worcester. Downs is the number 5 prospect in the Red Sox, according to MLB Pipeline. Here’s the Scout’s report on the 23-year-old:
When he was posting a .888 OPS with 24 homers and as many steals while hitting Double-A as a 21-year-old in 2019, Downes showed a slight right-handed swing with quick hands and a nice loft and controlled the strike zone well. But after getting off to a slow start last year, he started to push and never recovered, as his plate discipline deteriorated and caused hits and poor contact more than before. He’s had five straight games in the Arizona Fall League, but otherwise had a brawl there as well, raising concern that he might be more of a misman for power rather than someone who could deliver a consistent overall production. Downs continues to make the most of his average speed thanks to his basic intelligence instincts that help him make him a 20-20 threat. His baseball IQ is also evident in the field, as he has good hands and strong arm strength. His mid range at a short stop will likely mark the transition to second base, where he could be an asset with his gauntlet.
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Mike Rosenstein can be reached at [email protected].