If Yoenis Céspedes didn't know much about the Boston Red Sox while growing up in Cuba, he found the perfect person to teach him all about the history of the franchise and its ballpark.
The ex-Oakland outfielder, who was traded to Boston for Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes on Thursday, spoke with fellow Cuban and former Red Sox pitcher Luís Tiant in the Fenway Park clubhouse before Friday night's game against the New York Yankees.
"I'm very happy to share part of my career with the Red Sox, with such a legendary team," Céspedes said through an interpreter in a pregame meeting with reporters. "The legend of Fenway Park precedes itself."
Mired in last place in the AL East after losing eight of their previous nine games, the 2013 World Series champions gave up on their title defense by trading away four-fifths of the starting rotation they opened the season with. Having sent Jake Peavy to San Francisco last week, the Red Sox traded Lester and Gomes to the A's, righty John Lackey to the Cardinals for outfielder Allen Craig and Felix Doubront to the Cubs for a player to be named.
Also shipped out were shortstop Stephen Drew, and lefty reliever Andrew Miller. But Red Sox manager John Farrell said all the moves should not signal a surrender — even though Friday night's lineup against their archrivals featured four rookies plus starting pitcher Anthony Ranaudo, who was making his major league debut.
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"There's a different mood because we've got probably one-third of a new team," Farrell said after the 4-3 victory over the Yankees that was just Boston's second win in 10 games. "There's a lot of enthusiasm with the guys we brought in. We're looking forward to seeing Yoenis tomorrow."
Craig was in the lineup against the Yankees, lacing a double down the left-field line in Boston's two-run third inning in his first appearance at Fenway Park since the Red Sox beat the Cardinals in the World Series. Craig was part of one of the most memorable endings in Series history when he was awarded the winning run without touching home plate after he was tripped by Boston third baseman Will Middlebrooks in Game 3.
Middlebrooks and Craig now have lockers near each other in the Red Sox clubhouse.
And they weren't the only players introducing themselves.
The Red Sox recalled Ranaudo, who earned the victory in his major-league debut against the team he grew up watching as a kid in New Jersey. Also called up from Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday were outfielder Mookie Betts, left-hander Tommy Layne and right-hander Alex Wilson. Middlebrooks was activated from the 15-day disabled list.
"I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a lot of emotion going on out there," said Ranaudo, who struck out Derek Jeter, his onetime favorite player, in the third inning for his first major league strikeout. "I wasn't the only new face in the clubhouse today. It was good to be a part of, and hopefully I can be a part of that in the future."
Saying goodbye were outfielder Shane Victorino, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back strain, and first baseman-outfielder Mike Carp, who had complained about his diminishing role, was designated for assignment.
Drew made his Yankees debut at Fenway, receiving a warm ovation after a highlight video. His manager, Joe Girardi, said he thought all the activity on Thursday was good for baseball because it kept fans talking about the sport.
And the fact that two top pitchers had left the division?
"Nothing wrong with that," Girardi said.