NEW YORK -- Dean Anna played in 554 Minor League games before getting a crack in the Majors. As he watched his fifth-inning home run sail over the right-field wall on Thursday, the Yankees' rookie picked up a story he'll be happy to tell for years to come.
Anna slugged his first big league home run in New York's 4-1 victory over the Red Sox, a solo shot off right-hander Clay Buchholz. Yankees security retrieved the ball for the 27-year-old infielder, who felt like he had floated around the bases.
"It's kind of like, 'Am I really running around these bases right now?'" Anna said. "It was a great feeling. I'm just happy to get the win. That's really what it's about around here. It feels really good to hit a homer in Yankee Stadium against the Red Sox."
Anna said that, growing up in Illinois, he used to picture his first big league homer clearing the ivy at Chicago's Wrigley Field. Notching one in the Bronx against Boston -- and getting a dugout high-five from Derek Jeter -- isn't a bad second choice.
"Words can't explain it, honestly. They really can't," Anna said. "All the history with these two teams and that happens. Again, I'm just happy to get that win. I got a good pitch to hit, and I hit it good. It was a great moment."
"Good for him. It was his first hit here as well," Jeter said. "I know it was a long time ago, but I can remember playing my first games here at Yankee Stadium, and you want to do well. You're trying so hard, and to get his first hit, a big home run. Buchholz is as good as they come, and it was something that he'll remember forever."
Anna led the Pacific Coast League in hitting last season while in the Padres' farm system, and he has two hits in his first 10 big league at-bats. He said that his cellphone had already been hit with more than 100 voice mails and text messages from family and friends.
"It has to be extremely special, and obviously, it's one he'll never forget," manager Joe Girardi said. "We all remember our home runs, but his first one -- a pretty special place, in a huge rivalry -- it's something that I'm sure he'll talk about for a long time."
McCann not concerned with slow start at plate
NEW YORK -- Brian McCann would have liked to enjoy a much better offensive start to his Yankees career, but the left-handed-hitting catcher is confident that better swings are just around the corner.
"It was weird, because I don't feel bad at the plate," McCann said. "You look up, and you're just not getting the hits."
McCann entered play on Thursday hitless in his last 13 at-bats, dropping his batting average to .152 with no homers and two RBIs in his first eight games with New York.
The 30-year-old signed a five-year, $85 million contract in December after spending his entire career with the Braves. The Yanks have plenty of reason to believe that his luck will turn; he batted .256 with 20 homers and 57 RBIs in 102 games last season and is the only catcher with at least 20 home runs in each of the last six seasons (2008-13).
"I haven't seen anything where I've seen a big change in his personality," manager Joe Girardi said. "Obviously, I'll continue to watch. I don't think that he's swung the bat as poorly as his numbers have said, but sometimes you run into some hard luck."
Girardi juggling a closer-less bullpen
NEW YORK -- Juggling a bullpen without closer David Robertson has been more challenging than manager Joe Girardi would have liked, as heavy workloads dip into the availability of some of his relievers.
Girardi said that interim closer Shawn Kelley would not be available in a save situation on Thursday, one night after the right-hander threw 30 pitches and allowed two ninth-inning runs in the Yankees' 5-4 loss to the Orioles.
Right-hander Adam Warren, who, like Kelley, has pitched in three of the past four games, is also unavailable. Girardi could lean toward keeping left-hander Matt Thornton for a later inning, but circumstances might change that.
"You could have a situation where it might be the turning point in the game," Girardi said. "Obviously, you'd like to be able to do that, but I just have to see where we're at."
• Second baseman Brian Roberts was not in the lineup on Thursday, as Girardi is trying to give him a full day off. Roberts appeared in all nine games thus far; Dean Anna started in his place.
"He was on pace to play 162, so I thought I would give him a day off," Girardi said.
• Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and left-hander Matt Thornton, members of the Red Sox last season, will receive their World Series rings on Friday. Boston manager John Farrell and general manager Ben Cherington will personally deliver the rings.
"It'll be a chance to share a moment and thank them for a great experience," Farrell said.
• First baseman Mark Teixeira (strained right hamstring) is stretching and riding a stationary bicycle but is not taking part in on-field activity. Infielder Brendan Ryan (cervical spine nerve injury) has started light baseball activity at the team's complex in Tampa, Fla.
• On this date in 1998, Tino Martinez homered and drove in five runs, Scott Brosius drove in four runs and the Yankees outslugged the Athletics, 17-13, in the home opener at Yankee Stadium. The game was witnessed by a crowd of 56,717.