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RED SOX NOTEBOOK

First-round pick Marcelo Mayer signs with Red Sox, gets a Fenway welcome

Red Sox first-round pick Marcelo Mayer took grounders at Fenway on Thursday afternoon alongside shortstop Xander Bogaerts.
Red Sox first-round pick Marcelo Mayer took grounders at Fenway on Thursday afternoon alongside shortstop Xander Bogaerts.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Not long after the Red Sox first-round pick Marcelo Mayer got off the plane last week, he started to get a sense of how rabid the Boston fan base can be.

“It’s amazing,” Mayer said. “Just from getting out of the airport, fans coming up to me asking for my autograph. It’s just an amazing city and an amazing fan base.”

He was across the country from his hometown of Chula Vista, Calif., but the more he went out to see the city, the more people around town recognized him. He went to get a COVID test Thursday and people already knew who he was.

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“I got swarmed by a couple people,” he said. “It’s insane. And it just shows you know how dedicated this fan base is and how loyal.”

After taking the 18-year-old shortstop out of Eastlake (Calif.) High School with the fourth overall pick in the draft earlier this month, the Sox spent the past week getting Mayer familiar with the organization before squaring away his contract on Thursday.

The Sox agreed with Mayer on a bonus of $6,664,000, sources told the Globe, the slot value for the fourth overall pick.

Mayer made the rounds through Fenway with family by his side. He met with Sox manager Alex Cora in the dugout, soaked in the history with a view of the Green Monster from the batter’s box as he took batting practice, and also chatted with shortstop Xander Bogaerts over ground balls. The two met earlier this month at the All-Star Game.

“It’s been amazing,” Mayer said. “It’s been everything I could ask for. Just from sitting there on draft day to being here, it’s super special.”

Marcelo Mayer got a good look at Fenway Thursday.
Marcelo Mayer got a good look at Fenway Thursday.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Mayer, a 6-foot-3-inch lefty, hit .392 with 14 home runs and 45 RBIs in 34 games for Eastlake, and catapulted himself to the top of the MLB Pipeline prospects list. His transition will be swift, as he’s off to Florida on Friday.

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“I want to start my professional career and just work my butt off and do whatever I can to be here,” he said.

Amateur scouting director Paul Toboni said the Sox are planning to get Mayer in games with their team in the Florida Complex League, and perhaps with Low A Salem before the season ends.

“He’s never lifted before or done any sort of weight training,” Toboni said. “We’ll see how his body responds to the strength and conditioning stuff … he probably hasn’t taken a groundball in a month.”

Marcelo Mayer took fielding and batting practice before Thursday's game, and chatted with manager Alex Cora.
Marcelo Mayer took fielding and batting practice before Thursday's game, and chatted with manager Alex Cora.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Along with Mayer, the Sox also signed third-round pick Tyler McDonough, a shortstop from North Carolina State; sixth-round pick Daniel McElveny, a shortstop from Bonita Vista High in Chula Vista, Calif., and ninth-round pick Matt Litwicki, a righthander from Indiana University. Mayer and McElvany were on rival high school teams.

“He’s my friend,” Mayer said. “I know him pretty good. He actually went to my rival school, so we played him a couple of times. I’m super excited to start playing with him.”

With his first Fenway experience behind him, Mayer said he already has an idea what to expect out of the road ahead.

“A grind,” he said. “I know it’s going to be a lot of hard work, and I’m going to do whatever I can to put myself in the best position and work my butt off.”

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Danny Santana injured again

Danny Santana was placed on the 10-day injured list just three days after making his return to the Sox lineup. The infielder/outfielder left Wednesday’s win over Toronto in the seventh inning after straining his left groin chasing down a ball in the gap.

Santana, hitting .171 with four homers and 13 RBIs in 33 games this season, was previously placed on the disabled list July 9 (retroactive to July 7) with a left quad strain. He returned for the two-game series against Toronto in Buffalo and went 2 for 9, with a homer and three RBIs.

Danny Santana is attended to after trying to make a play on a ball in the seventh inning of Wednesday's game.
Danny Santana is attended to after trying to make a play on a ball in the seventh inning of Wednesday's game.Kevin Hoffman/Getty

“A tough one, because he was feeling good,” Cora said. “He was feeling good physically. Swing-wise, he felt like he was on point. His timing was right. He was making good swing decisions. It’s just a tough one for us.

“But at the same time, we’ve got to keep moving. We’ve got to keep working and whoever we have here on our roster, they have to do the job for us to accomplish what we’re trying to do.”

Outfielder/first baseman Franchy Cordero was called up from Triple A Worcester to fill Santana’s roster spot. Cordero was optioned to Worcester on May 26 after hitting .179 with 37 strikeouts in 102 plate appearances across 24 big league games.

At the time, Cora said the decision was made with Cordero’s long-term contributions in mind, to allow him to regain his timing and plate discipline. From 2018-2020, the 26-year-old was limited to just 65 games due to groin, elbow, and wrist injuries.

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In 44 games with Worcester, he hit .329 with six homers and 29 RBIs, with 56 strikeouts in 191 plate appearances.

“Everything that we hear, everything that we see is his swing decisions have been better, which is very important,” Cora said. “I think here, at one point, he was hesitant to let it go. He was kind of like the ‘take, take, take, swing’ mode. Now it’s more about, ‘I’m looking for a pitch, I’m trying to drive it.’ So he did that.”

Connor Seabold in line for Friday start

Righthander Connor Seabold, who has missed much of the season with elbow inflammation, is scheduled to start for Worcester on Friday. Seabold pitched two rehab games in Florida, throwing 5⅔ shutout innings and striking out 12. The 25-year-old could be an option for the Sox later this season. Seabold was obtained from the Phillies last season along with Nick Pivetta . . . J.D. Drew, who spent the final five seasons of his 14-year MLB career with the Red Sox, popped up at Fenway on Thursday. With the clubhouse closed to everyone but players and staff, Drew was accompanied next to the dugout by longtime Sox traveling secretary Jack McCormick, now the club’s senior director of club relations. Drew said hellos to familiar faces, including Cora and trainer Masai Takahashi . . . The Yankees came into Fenway seven games out of first place in the division, but Cora didn’t buy into the idea that the rivalry between the two teams was any less engaging to baseball fans. “It’s good for the game, people understand where we’re at, who they are, and it’s still there,” Cora said. “This is something people enjoy watching. Some of them, they don’t like watching three national TV games. They like watching others. But for us, it’s still a good rivalry” . . . New York called up Triple A righthander Sal Romano before the game and dropped righthander Asher Wojciechowski. Wojciechowski started against Philadelphia on Wednesday and allowed two earned runs in four innings. Romano, 27, had a 3.24 earned run average in 18 appearances for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The Southington, Conn., product was 15-19 with a 5.15 ERA for the Reds from 2017 until he was released earlier this season

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Peter Abraham of the Globe staff contributed to this report.


Julian Benbow can be reached at julian.benbow@globe.com.