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Ben Rice’s Red Sox-rooting friends had jokes for Yankees’ rookie after 3-homer game

Shortly after Ben Rice became the first Yankees rookie to hit three home runs in a game, his phone started blowing up.

That’s no surprise given his historic performance in the Bombers’ 14-4 win over the Red Sox on Saturday. However, Rice is from Cohasset, Massachusetts, which is just outside of Boston.

Naturally, a lot of his friends root for the Sox.

“Some different group chats here and there, guys were saying like, ‘Hey, pick someone else to do it to!’” Rice told the Daily News on Sunday. “Just joking around. Of course, that’s all in good fun.”

Rice, who actually grew up a Yankees fan in the heart of New England before attending Dartmouth, said that he heard from lots of high school and college pals. As far as he knew, none of his friends with Boston allegiances traveled to the Bronx to see his power surge in person.

However, Rice’s parents, sister and girlfriend were all at the game.

“It made it that much cooler for them to be here,” said Rice, who also totaled seven RBI on Saturday. “Seeing my parents in the dugout after the game was pretty special.”

Catching a Break

Rice has been playing first base for the Yankees ever since Anthony Rizzo fractured his arm, but the 25-year-old is a catcher by trade. Multiple members of the organization, including Aaron Boone and catching director Tanner Swanson, are high on Rice’s abilities behind the plate, but Jose Trevino and Austin Wells have the position covered.

Rice caught the last inning of the Yankees’ 16-5 blowout win over the Blue Jays on June 28, but he’s otherwise only played first in the majors. Boone said he may look to get Rice some more in-game catching reps, but it’s not a priority.

“I don’t feel that urge like I gotta get him in there,” the manager said Sunday. “Just because we feel like we’ve kind of put a lot on his plate coming up here. I’ve now moved him into the leadoff spot. He’s playing first base. Even though he has some experience over there, he’s still very raw and still very much learning the position in a lot of ways. So we want him to be able to focus on that.”

Boone added that having a third catcher on the roster provides flexibility, but Rice still needs more experience working with PitchCom. And with Rice still learning first and joining the team mid-season, he hasn’t had much time to study the pitching staff.

Torres and Stanton

Boone said that Gleyber Torres (groin) is “ready to go” and was available Sunday despite being out of the lineup. Torres was available as a pinch-hitter on Saturday. But with an off day on Monday, Boone opted to keep the second baseman out of the lineup for an extra day.

Boone also said that he doesn’t think it’ll be “too much longer” before Giancarlo Stanton (hamstring) returns. Boone didn’t specify beyond that, but Stanton was only expected to miss four weeks and went on the injured list on June 23.


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