FORT MYERS, Fla. — New contract, new uniform, new teammates.
And now, a new baby.
It’s been quite a week for Trevor Story.
From an agreement 10 days ago to join the Red Sox on a six-year, $140 million contract, to the official arrival in Fort Myers last Wednesday, to the late-night phone call Thursday that his wife was in labor, to the early-morning flight Friday to get to Texas in time for the birth of their son, to the two nights he got to spend with his family, to his return to spring training Sunday, to his sort-of Red Sox debut in an intrasquad game Monday . . . whew!
Story, back at his locker Tuesday morning, looked at the small group of reporters around him, took a deep breath, and smiled while calling it “definitely the craziest week of my life.”
“Yeah, it was in the middle of the night Thursday night, my wife called me and said this thing might be happening,” Story said. “I didn’t sleep any that night. Got the earliest flight we could get out [Friday], jumped on it, and it was like a movie where I was speeding to the hospital and running through the lobby and straight to the delivery room.
“And he came very quick after that. I barely made it. Momma held on for me.”
What a story for the Storys.
“All just amazing things,” he said. “We’ll look back and say this is a great week and celebrate that. It’s been a whirlwind and I’m just trying to hang on and get ready for the season.”
That’s the focus now, with Story back in camp and finally ready, according to Red Sox manager Alex Cora, to make his official debut in Wednesday’s game against the Braves.
Story was slated to debut Saturday before the baby changed his plans. Now it’s time to ramp things up, and given his late signing, an extra few days to reconcile his vaccination status so he’ll be eligible to play games in Canada, and a spring training schedule already truncated by the lockout, there is no time to waste.
So there was Story on Monday, the designated hitter for both teams in a 10 a.m. intrasquad scrimmage, heading to the plate second in each half-inning, seven at-bats in total. He ripped a triple off starter Nate Eovaldi, connected on another line drive to short that was caught, and even got caught himself on a pickoff play at first base. In other words, just what he needed to get back in baseball rhythm.
“I got the at-bats right back-to-back consecutively, so it was good in that sense to get in the flow, get in my timing, my tempo down,” he said. “I feel as the at-bats went on, they got better, I started making better contact.
“More than anything, I feel like I’m seeing the ball well. For me, at this stage, this early, that’s really what I’m looking for. I know the hard contact and the good swings will come, so I feel good about it.”
As the one big splash of their offseason, the Red Sox need the Story signing to work out, for him to move seamlessly into second base while Xander Bogaerts stays at shortstop, for him to prove the power and average he showed in Colorado were not just byproducts of the altitude. Story left no doubt Monday he’ll be ready by next Thursday, when the regular season opens in New York.
“I feel really good,” he said. “I take a lot of pride in my offseason work and doing the right things for my body to stay ready, and I think it’s going to pay big dividends for me now. I think my work in the offseason is going to flow right into spring. Obviously it’s shortened, but I know I’ll be ready.”
Story didn’t take the trip to Bradenton to face the Phillies on Tuesday, staying back with many other starters to work on drills and training. At one point, he ran back to his locker to grab a glove. Jackie Bradley Jr., from the opposite side of the room, saw him and hopped over. Leaning in for a hug, he said, “Congrats, Papa,” and the two shared some words. A father of two himself, Bradley knows what life changes are in store for Story.
A new professional journey, a new personal journey, it’s been quite a week for the newest Bostonian.
“These guys in here, it’s a very high standard,” Story said. “I love that. I think we’re going to elevate each other each day, the more that we’re around each other, the more that’s going to grow. I think that’s what I felt the most [when signing].
“It’s a super talented team. You just look around and see these guys and it gives me a lot of confidence.”
What a week — confidence and joy.
“Obviously it’s such a special moment to be there for our first-born child, it was tough leaving,” Story said. “But my family is just so understanding of what’s going on and they’ve been great about it. Now it’s time to get ready for baseball.”