Dean Anna grew up near Chicago and always dreamed that his first major-league home run would come at Wrigley Field. Thursday night, he had to trade some ivy in for a facade. But he'll take it.
"Yankee Stadium against the Red Sox is pretty good, too," Anna said after the Yankees' 4-1 win over the Red Sox.
Anna hit a solo home run in the fifth inning off Clay Buchholz to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead. It was the utility infielder's first career home run and first hit at Yankee Stadium. When he entered the dugout, Derek Jeter was the first person to greet him.
"That was a cool moment," Anna said. "I think I'll remember that for a long time."
Jeter said he recalled his first handful of games at Yankee Stadium almost two decades ago and how hard he tried to perform well.
"For him to get his first hit, a big home run," Jeter said. "Buchholz is as good as they come. It's just something he'll remember forever."
Anna returned to his locker to find more than 100 messages on his phone. It continued to buzz as he was swarmed with reporters.
"It's gonna take a while to read all these messages," he said. "Some people might get mad if I don't get back to them."
Anna, 27, was acquired from the Padres in the offseason to add infield depth and made the team out of spring training. He started at second base Thursday night in place of Brian Roberts, who was given a day off.
Most expect Anna to be sent to the minors when Brendan Ryan (back) comes off the disabled list. But Ryan doesn't seem close to returning and Anna has been solid in limited duty at second base and shortstop.
"It's an amazing feeling to just be a part of this," Anna said. "It's unbelievable."
The Yankees made sure to get that home run ball back from a fan in the rightfield seats so Anna could have it.
Said Joe Girardi, "It's something I'm sure he'll talk about for a long time."