Sale tries on new jersey for Red Sox fans

Sale tries on new jersey for Red Sox fans

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- Wearing a Red Sox jersey for the first time and making his first public appearance on behalf of his new team, Chris Sale was greeted by a room full of roars from the roughly 2,500 fans gathered in the Grand Theater of Foxwoods Resort and Casino.

The event was the kickoff of the third annual Red Sox Winter Weekend, and Sale was the last player introduced on Friday, setting off a standing ovation.

The ace left-hander was joined by fellow newcomers Tyler Thornburg and Mitch Moreland. The three players were all acquired by president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski on one wild day at the Winter Meetings in December.

Initially, the trio didn't have uniform tops on as they stood with roughly 20 teammates.

But that changed when NESN studio host Tom Caron called Rick Porcello, Mookie Betts and Craig Kimbrel into action.

Porcello, the American League Cy Young Award winner in 2016, handed Sale a No. 41 home white jersey. Kimbrel brought No. 47 to Thornburg, who should be the closer's primary setup man. And Betts gave No. 18 to Moreland, who will be the club's primary first baseman.

"It feels awesome," Sale said of the reception. "I just want to help this team get to the playoffs and win a World Series."

After getting a chance to interact a little with Red Sox fans since the trade that brought him over from the White Sox, Sale said of their passion, "It's energizing."

Fans, and, yes, team owners, have also felt energized since Dombrowski made the blockbuster trade to bring the five-time All-Star to Boston.

"We were very pleased," said Red Sox chairman Tom Werner. "We obviously know that we now have three really strong pitchers at the top of our rotation. That doesn't count [Eduardo] Rodriguez or [Steven] Wright or [Drew] Pomeranz. I think as Tito said yesterday he was happy to get Chris Sale out of the Central Division. We're happy to have him because pitching, as we know, carries teams."

Moreland, who won a Rawlings Gold Glove Award at first base for the Rangers last season, can't wait to get started in Boston.

"It's an honor," Moreland said. "I'm happy to be here and looking forward to an opportunity to be part of a great team. It's a great baseball atmosphere. I think it's going to be a lot of fun."

Thornburg, one of the best setup men in the Major Leagues last season, looks forward to bringing his talents to the AL East.

"I'm definitely excited," Thornburg said. "I'm excited to play at Fenway in front of these fans."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.