After completing his second inning Friday night Jhoulys Chacin began to shake some hands and give out a few high-fives. He then fell down the dugout steps.
That was the 31-year-old's only misstep in his introduction to the Red Sox.
"Oh man," said Chacin after his team's 6-1 win over the Yankees. "I was just trying to get to the dugout and I didn’t know if I was going to go back out. I was going to give the hand(shake) and step down at the same time and I slipped. That’s fine. We won so it doesn’t really feel bad. Maybe it wasn’t the best first impression but like I said I was just happy we won." (For a complete recap, click here.)
Chacin -- who began this season as the Milwaukee Brewers' Opening Day starter before being cut loose in late July -- offered his new team exactly what they needed in the series-opener against the Yankees. The righty retired all six of the batters he faced while serving as the Sox' starter, striking out four.
After the outing he explained the Red Sox were his team of choice because of the opportunity to pitch on a semi-regular, trying to rediscover the fastball command that had doomed him for much of this season with the Brewers.
There will continue to be challenges during this short stint with the Red Sox, as Chacin discovered when trying to memorize names and handshakes.
"They all have different handshakes," he said. "I don’t even have one because they have too many so I can’t repeat the ones they have. I have to come up with something. They don’t even have a sign when they call to the bullpen. They don’t have one for me yet because there are too many so they don’t know which one they can get for me."
But this was a step in the right direction for a pitcher who was headed down the wrong path.
"He did an outstanding job moving the ball around," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "Fastball command was good. Slider was good. It’s a different look, you know? It’s not north-south. It’s east-west, and expanding. He’s done it before. I mean, he’s pitched in big games and he was an Opening Day starter. He’s an accomplished big leaguer, and he set the tempo right away."