04/24/10 2:00 AM ET
Wide-eyed rookie Boesch joins Tigers
Power prospect an injury replacement for Guillen
By Todd Wills / Special to MLB.com
Even his mother, Vivian, knew before him that the Tigers were bringing him to the Majors.
Of course Boesch really doesn't care, and shouldn't. He made his Major League debut Friday in Texas, getting his chance after outfielder Carlos Guillen was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain.
Boesch didn't wait long to make an impression, ringing a double in his first at-bat. He finished 2-for-4 in the Tigers' 5-4 loss.
"I was hoping it would get out," Boesch said of the second-inning double. "It definitely felt good to get that first hit out of the way."
Boesch also was doubled off first base to end a Detroit second inning that cut a three-run Texas lead to 3-2, an uprising that also knocked Rangers starter Rich Harden out of the game. The Tigers had the bases loaded when Brandon Inge lined out to second and Boesch was thrown out at first.
"I just got off the base a little too far," Boesch said. "It's something to learn from."
The 25-year-old top hitting prospect for the Tigers walked wide-eyed into the visitor's clubhouse at Rangers Ballpark and took in the moment. He was one of the first Tigers to arrive, thanks to a 12:15 p.m. flight to Dallas/Fort Worth that had him at the stadium around 4:30 p.m. Detroit time.
As the first group of Tigers made it to the park, teammates like Dontrelle Willis and Phil Coke walked up to congratulate him.
Eventually every new teammate came up and welcomed him. Miguel Cabrera, who Boesch said he "hawked" during Spring Training to learn hitting from, came up and gave the rookie a huge bear hug.
"I have some little butterflies," Boesch said before Friday's game. "I guess it would be odd if I didn't feel nervous. Obviously it's a dream come true, but I'm going to approach the game the same way I always do."
Boesch didn't have to wait long to find out what it was like to be in the Majors. Tigers manager Jim Leyland had him batting fifth in the lineup behind Cabrera.
"[Boesch's] swinging the bat well," Leyland said. "We're not going to put him somewhere to cool him off. We'll see what he looks like."
The left-handed-hitting Boesch was tearing it up with the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens, batting .379 (22-for-58) with three home runs, a triple, three doubles and 17 RBIs in 15 games.
Boesch brings instant power to a Tigers lineup that already has two everyday rookies, center fielder Austin Jackson and second baseman Scott Sizemore. Boesch had 28 home runs last year for Double-A Erie.
Tigers catcher Gerald Laird jokingly said before Friday's game that he didn't like hitting in the same batting practice group with Boesch this spring because of some of the moon shots he hit.
Boesch said he has concentrated on being a good all-around hitter at Toledo, drawing off of Cabrera's approach to hitting.
"It's a transition I'm making," Boesch said. "I'm not just up there slugging away."
Boesch will have a good story to tell his children and grandchildren about getting called up by the Tigers. He had his phone off while watching the Tigers' late night game in Anaheim on Thursday night.
Around 2 a.m., Boesch said he noticed he had 10 missed calls from Toledo manager Larry Parrish and trainer Matt Rankin. He had a text message from his mother saying it was being reported he had been called up to the show.
Boesch called Parrish around 2:30 a.m., waking his skipper up to get the good news.
"I had been told don't expect a bouquet to be thrown from L.P.," Boesch said. "He wished me good luck and told me to have fun."
Boesch said his father, Phil, and his mother caught a flight from Los Angeles for Friday's game. Boesch said the hardest was packing at 3 a.m.while half asleep.
"But it was the most fun I've had packing," he said.
Todd Wills is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.