June 25, 2024

Boston Red Sox's Connor Wong plays against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, April 18, 2023, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Red Sox skipper Alex Cora, a seasoned veteran with 14 years of experience playing in the majors and six years as a coach/manager, couldn’t recall witnessing a catcher record both the game’s first and last outs with caught stealings until Sunday’s 3-2 victory over the Nationals at Fenway Park, where Connor Wong accomplished this rare feat.

“Not that I can recall, but I’m glad it happened,” Cora remarked.

Wong assumed the roles of both opener and closer behind the plate, throwing out CJ Abrams for the initial out and Jacob Young to seal the victory.

“Connor had a great game,” Cora acknowledged. “He’s been struggling throwing to the bases and all that. And today he was really good. I think the pitchers did an outstanding job slowing down the running game. This is a team (Nationals), we talk about it, they are going to push the envelope.”

Wong encountered some elbow discomfort early in spring training, delaying his participation in Grapefruit League games as a catcher. His initial three games were served as a designated hitter (DH).

“The other day, he bounced a few,” Cora noted. “He was a little bit banged up in spring training, so it’s taken him a while to get into his groove. But today it seemed like he threw through the bag, not at the bag. And he’s been working with Tek (Jason Varitek) on his footwork, long tossing and all that. So yeah, good day for him.”

Stat shows Red Sox' Connor Wong is one of top MLB defenders at any position  - masslive.com

While Wong has been excelling at the plate this season with a .348/.379/.562/.941 line in 95 plate appearances, his success in throwing out base stealers has been limited, having only nabbed one in 15 attempts prior to Sunday’s game. However, he managed to go 2-for-4 in thwarting steal attempts in this contest.

“I’ve been putting in the work,” Wong affirmed. “I think the throws are trending. Still not making great throws all the time. (Ceddanne) Rafaela picks me up there and makes a great play. But they’re getting better.”

Rafaela, who shifted from center field to shortstop in the last inning, snagged Wong’s throw on a hop and promptly tagged Young for the crucial final out.

“They are really aggressive, very athletic,” Wong commented about the Nationals. “Very quick. That’s one of their strengths. The pitchers did a solid job this series of providing us chances to catch runners stealing, and we need to capitalize on those opportunities by making accurate throws.”

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