BOSTON Outfielder Jason Repko would have gotten the call after Jacoby Ellsbury was hurt in Fridays game against the Rays at Fenway Park. But, Repko was nursing an ailment of his own and had not played for Triple-A Pawtucket since April 7. So, the Red Sox called up Che-Hsuan Lin, allowing Repko to test his left leg, which he injured sliding, in Saturdays game in Buffalo.
Repko came through that game fine. He was in the home team clubhouse at Fenway Park Sunday morning and is in the Red Sox lineup, batting ninth, playing center field.
Im excited, Repko said. Im excited to do whatever I can to contribute and help the team win.
Repko, who turned 31 in December, was a first-round pick of the Dodgers in 1999. Although he has played parts of six seasons with the Dodgers and Twins, this will be his first game at Fenway Park.
Actually Ive never played here before so spring training with the replica Fenway Park was good for me, even though its not exactly the same wall just to get an idea of what its like, he said. So spring training and getting out there today and working balls off the wall before the game will be a good thing.
Repko appeared in 27 spring training games at all three outfield positions, including 14 appearances in center, seven in left, and six in right. Manager Bobby Valentine said the move to bring up Repko (along with Nate Spears, with Lin going back to Pawtucket and right-hander Michael Bowden designated for assignment, to make room on the 40-man) was to improve the roster flexibility.
What we did is try to balance out the bench a little better and give us a little more versatility as were moving forward, Valentine said. Brought up a very versatile left-handed hitter, Nate Spears, and good defensive right-handed hitter in Jason Repko.
Repko joined the Sox as a minor league free agent in January. He wasnt sure if or when he would get the call from Pawtucket, but was glad it came earlier than later.
Honestly, I dont think about that at that time, he said. I just play my game and if it happens, just be ready for it.
Im ready. Ive been playing in Triple A. So Im ready to get in there and help contribute.
Just to get out there and play strong defense and do the little thing in the game that might help the team win, bunt some guys over. Like is said, do the little things.
Asked if he was nervous for his first game with his new team, Repko, a career .226 hitter, replied:
Excited, a little anxious, yeah. But ready.