05/15/2004 6:12 PM ET
Youkilis homers in debut
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
|Kevin Youkilis is only the seventh Boston player to homer in his Major League debut. (Adrian Wyld/AP)
Youkilis' first career HR: 56K | 350K
Youkilis' fourth-inning HR
TORONTO -- The phenom didn't just arrive on Saturday. He announced his presence with a 402-foot bomb into the second deck of left field at SkyDome, helping the Red Sox to a 4-0 victory over the Blue Jays.
With third baseman Bill Mueller dealing with inflammation in his right knee, the Red Sox informed Kevin Youkilis on Friday that his services were needed.
Stationed in Charlotte, where the Pawtucket Red Sox were playing, Youkilis found a direct flight to Toronto on Friday night.
Youkilis was immediately thrust into the lineup for his Major League debut, batting eighth in manager Terry Francona's lineup.
It didn't take him long to calm his nerves.
After popping out in his first at-bat, Youkilis launched an ill-placed Pat Hentgen changeup into the cheap seats.
And so it was that his first Major League hit -- and home run -- came off a former Cy Young Award winner.
The six other Red Sox players who have homered in their Major League debuts:
Sam Horn -- July 25, 1987|
Danny Sheaffer -- April 9, 1987
Merrill Combs -- Sept. 12, 1947
Eddie Pellagrini -- April 22, 1946
Ben Steiner -- April 17, 1945
Lefty LeFebvre -- June 10, 1938
Youkilis became the seventh player in Red Sox history to homer in his first Major League game. He was the first since Sam Horn on July 25, 1987.
"It's amazing," Youkilis said.
His teammates pretended not to be amazed at first.
Ace Pedro Martinez led his teammates in a prank, giving Youkilis the silent treatment as he arrived back to the dugout.
"I told him after his first out, 'After you go deep, we're going to the silent treatment,'" Martinez said. "I'm glad it came true."
Once Youkilis settled in to the dugout and took off his batting gloves, one Red Sox player after another came over to congratulate him.
His father Mike and mother Carolyn, who took a morning flight up from Cincinnati, had to be far more jubilant, stationed in their seats behind the Boston dugout.
But for perhaps the first time he can remember, Youkilis couldn't hear his top cheerleader.
"The only time my mom can't be heard is at a Major League game," said Youkilis. "At minor league games, she yells too loud. I was just thankful my parents could fly up and see this because they mean the world to me. They came out to all the games, college -- it's been great."
Youkilis later added a single, going 2-for-4 and playing clean defense in his first day in the bigs.
He was hitting .258 at Pawtucket with 10 doubles, three homers and 13 RBIs.
Thanks to his record-tying streak of reaching base in 71 consecutive minor league games last season as well as being dubbed the "Greek God of Walks" in the best-selling book Moneyball, Youkilis is arguably the best known prospect in the Red Sox organization. He has 270 walks in 325 minor league games.
To make room for Youkilis on the roster, the Sox optioned left-handed reliever Mark Malaska to Pawtucket.
As a former player himself, Francona had a sense of the excitement Youkilis was feeling.
"He probably hasn't touched the ground," Francona said. "Your first day in the big leagues is like none other. You go through getting married and all that stuff, but you're not nervous like this. As a kid, you wait for this day your whole life. But he was out there having a good time. He's got some personality to him, anyway. It's good. He's going to fill in for a few days."
Once Mueller returns -- likely on Tuesday in Tampa Bay -- it remains to be seen what happens with Youkilis. Perhaps he stays on the Boston bench for a little bit. Or maybe he goes back to Pawtucket for regular at-bats.
On this day to savor, he wasn't thinking about any of that.
"I don't think I'll reach a low for a while," Youkilis said.
Nor would anyone expect him to.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.