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Verdugo: Red Sox 'didn't have the pieces' to compete during tenure

Luke Hales / Getty Images Sport / Getty

New York Yankees outfielder Alex Verdugo is set to return to Boston on Friday as a visitor after spending four seasons with the Red Sox.

Verdugo, acquired by the Red Sox in the blockbuster trade that sent Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers, enjoyed his fair share of ups and downs through an eventful tenure in Boston.

"When we won in '21, that was one of the most fun years of my life, and it's because we had a winning team. We went to the ALCS. When you're winning in Boston, those fans and everything, it feels special out there," he told MassLive's Chris Cotillo.

The Red Sox failed to build on the success of 2021 in subsequent seasons, regressing to consecutive 78-84 records.

"The other years were good, but it just felt like we were fighting a little bit. We didn't have the pieces that we needed. To not get them at the trade deadlines was a little bit tougher, too," he added.

Despite establishing himself as a solid offensive contributor with a knack for delivering in big spots, Verdugo frequently butted heads with Red Sox manager Alex Cora. He was traded to New York last December with Boston looking to retool.

"It would have been nice to see a little bit more initiative when I was there, just to try to force winning," Verdugo said. "But that organization is great. They've won for a long time and a lot of times. They have a process. They know what they're doing."

Verdugo has impressed over his first 64 games in Yankees pinstripes, posting a 111 OPS+ while playing quality defense in the outfield.

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