Enrique Hernandez 'confident' he'll revive career in return to Dodgers

LOS ANGELES -- Enrique Hernandez walked into Dodger Stadium, rode the elevator downstairs and passed the display cases of gleaming trophies on his way to the clubhouse.

He was back on familiar turf for the first time in three years.

"It's weird to be here," Hernandez said Wednesday, a day after being traded by the Boston Red Sox to the NL West-leading Dodgers. "It feels like it's been forever, but at the same time it feels like it was yesterday that I was here.

"There's so many emotions that I don't even know how to put them all into words."

Three years after helping the Dodgers win the World Series during the pandemic-delayed 2020 season, Hernandez was in their starting lineup at second base for the series finale against Toronto. He went 2-for-4, but the Blue Jays won 8-1.

The utilityman, who turns 32 next month, is hoping for a career revival in Hollywood.

Hernandez struggled at the plate and in the field for the Red Sox, who are fourth in the AL East. He was batting .222 in 86 games at shortstop, second base and outfield while also leading the major leagues with 15 errors.

"It hasn't been the best of years for me performance-wise, but I'm still confident," he said. "I haven't lost confidence that I can still be the player that I was."

The Dodgers will use Hernandez against left-handed pitching and at second base, center field and possibly in left.

"With the season that I was having, I'm not in any position to be asking for playing time or anything like that," he said.

He met before the game with manager Dave Roberts, who laid out the team's expectations.

"The first time there was a strong desire to be an everyday player, but I do think he's in a position now where he's much more open to the [platoon] role," Roberts said. "With clarity and openness, I think he can thrive for us this year. He knows what kind of team we have here. He understands how he fits in with our group."

Hernandez spent six years with the Dodgers, playing alongside third baseman Justin Turner. He later recruited Turner to the Red Sox, and now they've been split up by the trade.

Turner reacted to the trade by posting three crying emojis on X, formerly known as Twitter. A bottle of red wine and a note from Turner sat in Hernandez's locker, where a Red Sox duffel was stuffed. They parted ways in Boston with a hug.

"We have a lot of history together," Hernandez said. "For me to be traded midseason, of course, it's tough."

They'll be reunited next month when the Dodgers visit Boston for a three-game series.

Hernandez will wear a new jersey number this time around. Previously, he wore No. 14, but the Dodgers retired it last year in honor of Gil Hodges.

He had a choice of Nos. 8, 10 and 29. He ruled out No. 10 because it was worn by Turner and many fans still wear that jersey to games.

Hernandez chose No. 8 in a nod to Bob Geren, who wore the number as the team's longtime bench coach before becoming its major league field coordinator. The late Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant wore No. 8 during the first part of his career.

"I figured number eight is pretty significant in this city, so might as well take a shot with it," Hernandez said. "I'm excited to be back, I'm excited to join a playoff race. I'm just ready for this new chapter in LA."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.