DETROIT — Brennan Boesch spent three seasons in Detroit catching fly balls at Comerica Park. His best catch at the ballpark might have been as a member of the New York Yankees.
Boesch returned to Detroit for the first time since he received his unconditional release in March — and it didn’t take long for him to remind the Tigers what they’re missing.
Playing in his familiar right-field spot, Boesch received a hearty applause from Tigers fans after he robbed Prince Fielder of a surefire extra-base hit in the third inning Friday.
Boesch slammed against the wall and fell to the ground after he made the wall-crashing catch and was promptly greeted to a hearty applause from the 45,000-plus in attendance.
“I guess it’s an advantage to come play somewhere you’re familiar with the dimensions,” Boesch said.
Recognized as having a better bat than glove, Boesch singled and groundout out three times, but it was his defensive play that left the crowd and Fielder wide-eyed.
“I told him, ‘Nice catch,'” Fielder said. “Great catch…jerk.”
It was the second cheer Boesch received Friday after fans welcomed him with applause when the Yankees’ starting lineup was announced prior to the game.
“The fans are good here. I felt like they were always fair to me,” he said. “It was no different today when I ran out there. I know it’s a chapter that’s kind of closed. I was excited, but I’m glad it’s over, too.”
It was Boesch’s first start as a member of the Yankees after he signed a $1.5 million contract with the club on March 16. He was released three days earlier after the Tigers were unsuccessful in their attempt to trade him.
“It’s kind of a good storyline for me,” he said. “I’m sure when I’m older I’ll look back and kind of relish this moment because my first start in a Yankee uniform is against Detroit. It’s pretty cool.”