BOSTON -- Nick Hagadone had always envisioned his big league debut taking place in Fenway Park. That all changed when the Red Sox packaged him in a trade and shipped him off to the Indians three seasons ago.
On Thursday night, Hagadone finally received his chance to pitch in Fenway, and he did so no longer as a pitching prospect. These days, Hagadone is an emerging talent in Cleveland's bullpen, and he showed Boston what it gave away by turning in a clean ninth inning to seal an 8-3 victory for Cleveland.
"It was awesome," Hagadone said on Friday. "When I got drafted, I assumed I was going to make my debut here. So to be able to get to finally pitch here, it was pretty cool."
The Red Sox selected Hagadone with the 55th overall pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, and he did have the chance to head to Fenway Park that August for a game with Class A Lowell. Since he was not starting that day, though, Hagadone was asked to sit in the stands to chart pitches.
"I was kind of bitter about it," Hagadone said. "I definitely wanted to at least be in the dugout."
The Sox traded him to the Indians on July 31, 2009, along with Justin Masterson and Bryan Price, in the deal that brought Victor Martinez to Beantown. In the years since the swap, the 26-year-old Hagadone made the switch from starting to relieving and has performed well for the Tribe.
Through nine appearances out of the bullpen this season, Hagadone has posted a 0.87 ERA with 10 strikeouts and two walks in 10 1/3 innings. Including Spring Training and a stint with Triple-A Columbus, the lefty has pieced together a 1.27 ERA with 24 strikeouts against six walks in 28 1/3 innings so far this year.
"His command, I would say that the command has been a bit surprising," manager Manny Acta said. "We're not surprised by the velocity or the breaking ball. We knew those were there. The command of his pitches, yeah, it has come quicker than we anticipated."