James Loney: ‘I know they’re always trying to build a championship team here’
|08.26.12 at 2:58 pm ET|
James Loney knows full well what he’s getting into.
The 28-year-old veteran first baseman arrived in Boston Sunday as the only major league-ready player to come from the Dodgers in exchange for Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto. He knows what kind of year it’s been in Boston.
“I knew a bunch of those guys that got traded,” Loney said in the Sunday press conference before going out and making his Red Sox debut at first base. “I know a bunch of guys here still but I know they’re always trying to build a championship team here. I know it didn’t work out and this year I guess there were some things going on.”
He’s heard all about playing in the intense baseball market of Boston from the outside. Now, he gets to experience it first hand.
“I’ve heard that,” Loney said. “You hear that. I think a lot of big-market, big city teams are like that. You don’t think about it when you’re out there. You just go out and play.”
Among those first to greet him in the Red Sox clubhouse were former Dodger teammates Vicente Padilla, Scott Podsednik and Cody Ross. He’s lockered next to Dustin Pedroia, a long-time friend from Arizona, where they played together in the Arizona Fall League.
“I think they call him “The Destroyer” or something like that,” Loney said. “I played with him in the Fall League. His locker is next to mine so I’ll keep him loose and make sure he talks [to media]. I knew Podsednik, played with Padilla, played with Saltalamacchia in the Fall League, and Cody Ross I played with.”
Loney batted just .254 with four homers and 33 RBIs in 114 games this season. He is slugging at just .344 and his OPS is .646, some 120 point below his career mark since breaking into the bigs with the Dodgers in 2006.
“No particular reason,” Loney said of his struggles. “Sometimes I think early in the season I may try too hard and the timing gets a little off.
“That’s all I’ve known. But I’m also looking forward to this change. I think it’ll be great for me and my career. I’m looking forward to playing and winning in this city.”
Getting to Boston was a bit of a sleepless adventure, leaving Los Angeles late Saturday night.
“I’ve been up a lot,” Loney said. “Had a late flight last night but excited, though, to be here. Slept on the plane a few hours. Slept in the hotel a few hours. Took a nice shower and try to wake up.”
As for the trade going down on Friday, he said he just rolled with the punches.
“On Friday, there was just a lot going on, got taken out of the lineup so I knew something was going. I figured something would probably happen by the morning, which it did. I’m excited. This has always been one of my favorite parks. I got to come here in 2010 to play and it was fun. Everything about the atmosphere here, the fans are great here. You’ve got a lot of support and it’s a good atmosphere.
“Yeah, I think so, a little bit. I don’t know how these colors fit me. But I’m going to get used to them. I like them.”
Loney is making $6.3 million this year and is a free agent after the season is over. Will that motivate him more in Boston?
“I motivate myself pretty good so I think that’ll be enough,” Loney said.
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