When Alex Cora told Nick Yorke to be prepared to play second base against the Atlanta Braves on Monday, he expected the news might catch the 18-year-old a bit off-guard.
Not even a year ago, Yorke was a high school senior. Monday, he made his pro debut, having not had the opportunity to officially do so last summer after the infielder was drafted in the first round by the Red Sox.
Now, here he was, in a major league spring training game.
"He was like, 'Oh, OK, cool,' '' relayed Cora. "I asked him, 'Are you nervous?' He was like, 'Nope.' I said, 'OK, good for you.' I was probably more nervous for him. That's a good sign.''
If so, Cora's anxiety wasn't necessary. Facing lefty reliever A.J. Minter, Yorke endured a tough at-bat before producing a nice inside-out swing and dropping a single into right field.
"That was tremendous, tremendous,'' said Cora. "He's here to learn. He' s here to be around big leaguers and learn how to act in the clubhouse, learn how to be a professional. That was the highlight of the day, watching that kid play.''
"Just a couple of years ago, I was watching spring training games, let alone playing in one,'' marveled Yorke. "It was a blast. It was good to be out on the field again.''
Having been told that he'd be getting into the game in the later innings, Yorke went about his business.