There were so many things James Loney had to adjust to when he made his Red Sox debut in Sunday’s 8-6 victory over the Royals.
There was the time change, the change in coasts from West to East, the change in accents, and the change in ballpark atmospheres from laid-back Dodger Stadium to intense Fenway Park.
All those were welcome changes, though, when Loney was traded to the Sox Saturday as part of a blockbuster nine-player deal. The 28-year-old had played his entire seven-year career with the Dodgers, ranking sixth on the franchise list with 860 games at first base.
So, after he grew accustomed to being attired in Dodger blue, Loney found it difficult to adapt to one significant change when he took the field in his No. 22 Red Sox jersey.
“The colors are getting me a little bit,’’ Loney said afterward. “Wearing different colors, it feels a little different.’’
It didn’t prevent Loney, however, from making a positive first impression. After being warmly greeted when he stepped to the plate for his first at-bat in the No. 5 spot, Loney grounded into an inning-ending double play.
“It’s one of the best atmospheres in baseball,’’ Loney said of Fenway, which he visited during an interleague series between two years ago. “Playing here, in front of all that tradition, it’s great.’’
After he grounded to second to end the third inning, Loney atoned with a single to center that drove in Jacoby Ellsbury to tie it, 4-4, in the fifth.
“Big at-bat,’’ said manager Bobby Valentine, who watched Loney’s hit from the clubhouse after being ejected for the fifth time this season earlier in the inning.
Loney finished 1 for 5, as the fans were quick to embrace their new first baseman.
“It felt good,’’ Loney said of the crowd reaction. “Getting that opportunity and a chance to deliver in itself, it’s something that you just want to keep up.’’
Said Dustin Pedroia of Loney, “I played with him in the Fall League and he plays a great first base. He swings the bat. Hopefully, he wears that Monster out.’’
It was part of a whirlwind 48 hours for Loney, who was pulled from the Dodgers’ lineup Friday in anticipation of the trade.
“Friday, there was a lot going on,’’ Loney said before Sunday’s game. “When I got taken out of the lineup, I knew something was probably going on. Figured something would happen by the morning, which it did.’’
Soon, Loney found himself on an overnight flight to Boston, arriving in the wee hours Sunday morning. With little time to rest, Loney took up residence in the Sox clubhouse, flanked by Pedroia and another familiar face, Scott Podsednik.
Although the trade was characterized as a salary dump by the Red Sox, Loney seemed eager to prove he was a pretty good piece coming in return.
“I motivate myself pretty good,’’ said Loney, a career .284 hitter who batted .254 with four home runs and 33 RBIs with the Dodgers this season. “I think that’ll be good enough.’’
While the changes will take some getting used to, Loney said he was eager for a new start in Boston after playing for only one organization.
“That’s all I’ve known, but I’m also looking forward to this,” Loney said. “I think it could be great for my career. I’m looking forward to playing and winning in this city.’’Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.