Josh Winckowski said Alex Verdugo ‘rides the rollercoaster’

Red Sox

Verdugo took more than 30 seconds to round the bases after hitting a home run off Winckowski Saturday.

Alex Verdugo seems to be enjoying his villain-esque role when he plays against the Red Sox in 2024. Luke Hales/Getty Images

Alex Verdugo took his sweet time rounding the bases after hitting a game-tying home run against his former team Saturday.

The ex-Red Sox and current Yankees outfielder took 32 seconds to reach home plate after clobbering a 422-foot two-run homer off former Boston teammate Josh Winckowski in the third inning.

Watch his entire trip around the bases:

Verdugo’s slow trot after knotting the game at three runs apiece prompted an interesting response from Winckowski postgame.

“I’m not too worried about it,” he said. “He rides the roller coaster a bunch so that’s what he does.”

Statistically speaking, the right-handed pitcher isn’t wrong. Between Verdugo’s last home run he hit off Boston on June 14 and entering Saturday, the lefty hitter was batting just .162 with a .450 OPS. He didn’t hit a homer and only drove in two runs in those three weeks.

Verdugo was a streaky hitter during his Red Sox tenure. In the first half of 2023, he was considered an All-Star Game snub after being left off the team. Verdugo was hitting .290 with a .817 OPS and 95 hits through the first 81 games of the season. He had scored 57 times and collected 38 RBI and 26 doubles in that span.

Then, in the second half of the year, Verdugo fell off. He batted .225 with a .635 OPS the rest of the way. He logged 31 hits, 11 of those being doubles, and 16 RBI the remainder of the season.

Verdugo found himself in a trade to New York two months after the final game of 2023. Now, he seems to be embracing the villain-esque role when he plays against his old team.

Boston manager Alex Cora also commented on Verdugo’s 32-second trot around the bases, albeit in a more neutral way compared to Winckowski.

“I’ve seen that slow trot for us and we didn’t care, right? We let him do it,” Cora said postgame. “So if we were OK with it on our team, we should be OK with it on another team. They should be OK, too, with (Rafael Devers) doing what he did.”

He referenced Devers’s fifth-inning go-ahead home run off the Yankees’ Gerrit Cole that came minutes after Verdugo’s. Devers bat flipped and had a joyous time rounding the bases for the eighth time in his career off the pitcher, and two innings after notching his 1,000th career hit.

As for Verdugo, it remains to be seen whether or not he’ll be with New York in 2025. He is signed through the 2024 season and will thus be a free agent at the end of the year. Perhaps his days of rubbing home runs in the Red Sox’ face are numbered.

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