For Brock Holt, a better start to second year with Red Sox

April 06, 2014 - 8:30 am

Though the season is still in its first week, the start of the 2014 season for Brock Holt has already been significantly different than the 2013 campaign. Then, Holt was making an uncertain transition into a new organization, trying to familiarize himself with a new set of teammates (after being traded to the Sox by the Pirates) and learning a new position (third base) after spending his career in the middle of the diamond. He got off to a brutal start in Triple-A Pawtucket, hitting .149 with a .234 OBP and no extra-base hits. And so, the beginning of 2014 has attested to a profound change of circumstance. Not only has Holt gotten off to a strong start, with four hits and two walks in his first 13 plate appearances in Pawtucket (.364 average, .462 slugging), but he's also had reminders of the difference a year can make. When he showed up in Fenway Park after being called up on Sunday morning (with Will Middlebrooks on the DL), he saw a familiar group of players with whom he played in Triple-A and the big leagues last year. This was Holt's second trip to Fenway in three days, as he received his World Series ring on Friday. The knowledge that he might be asked to serve as a utility player who can cover third is no longer a disorienting one. "Last year [I] was the new guy, so I wasn't too comfortable last year. But this year I feel a lot better. It helped me in spring training, being around the guys again, and going into the season as well," said Holt, who played 26 games with the Sox in the big leagues last year, hitting .203/.275/.237. "I actually haven't gotten as many reps at third this year as opposed to last year, but the times that I was over there in spring training, I felt comfortable and felt like I had actually played there before, as opposed to last year when I had no idea what was going on. I feel great. "It was big for me to get off on the right foot this year," he added. "I've felt good the first three games. I had a couple games at short and I played second yesterday. But feeling good at the plate, and however they want to use me up here, I'm going to try to help any way I can." Holt showed up this morning in Pawtucket, where his name was originally in the PawSox lineup, but he was prepared for the possibility that he might get an opportunity to return to the big leagues with Middlebrooks having suffered a calf injury. "It was on my radar. Any time someone goes down up here, the wheels start spinning. It's on my radar," said Holt. "I went to Pawtucket this morning expecting to play there and now I'm here. So, happy to be here."