Red Sox notes: Third base a possibility for Mike Carp?

February 23, 2014 - 9:19 am

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Mike Carp offered the Red Sox tremendous production in limited playing time in 2013. Acquired in the middle of spring training from the Mariners for cash, he saw action in 86 games (243 plate appearances) as a first base and left field reserve as well as a pinch-hitter, slamming the ball for a .296 average, .362 OBP and .523 slugging mark. "We always evaluated the swing as a low-maintenance compact swing, which we felt like, in the role, had a better chance to be productive. We didn't know to what level," said manager John Farrell. "He probably exceeded our expectations when you look at the line that he put up last year, but to his credit, we talked about this the first day here with the group, he didn't get an at-bat for the first nine games of the season. We tend to forget how young Mike Carp is. He's still a young player. To be in a bench role, as he was -- because he can probably start for other teams, we would think; he's a good player -- he accepted the role, he formed a routine that allowed him to be prepared and he was in the game. ... He performed well in a difficult situation." His production merited more playing time. But it wasn't available. Mike Napoli was a fixture at first until he required rest in September. Left field was manned capably by Jonny Gomes and Daniel Nava, a tremendously productive platoon. All of those players are back with the Sox this year. Yet the team wants to see Carp have more avenues to playing time, and so, manager John Farrell suggested, the 27-year-old could get some work at another position this spring. Which one? "Stay tuned," said Farrell. Carp has spent all of his big league career at first base and the two corner outfield spots, but at the start of his pro career, he played a dozen games at third base in 2004 and 2005 for the Mets. "Occasionally, every now and then, I'll go over there and get some work in, but nothing really in the last couple years," said Carp. "It's something I always keep in the back of my mind. If something might present itself to get a few more at-bats, I'm certainly open to playing there. "I'll talk to [third base coach Brian Butterfield] and hopefully get some work in, keep an open ear, open glove hopefully, and see what happens," Carp added. "Anything I can do to get an extra at-bat here or there, if there's a blowout ballgame and I can give a guy a blow, if I can slide to another position it's only going to help our team. That's all I want to do." Any other positions? "He's got a filthy knuckleball," noted Daniel Nava. Maybe short? "We've got a young guy taking over at short," noted Carp, with Xander Bogaerts listening in the background, "so if I have to back up every now and then . . . " OTHER RED SOX NOTES -- Will Middlebrooks, who took grounders at both second and first last year, is taking grounders only at third this spring. The team feels that it's covered at second with utility man Jonathan Herrera (and, behind him, Brock Holt), while the team feels that it could shift Middlebrooks to first with little lead time if the need arose. -- Chris Capuano was only supposed to throw a bullpen session on Sunday, but he'd thrown eight bullpens prior to signing with the Sox, so he ended up throwing live batting practice. -- The Red Sox have their pitching schedule for their first few exhibition games of the spring: FEB. 27 VS. NORTHEASTERN Brandon Workman (2 innings) Henry Owens (2 innings) Noe Ramirez Burke Badenhop FEB. 27 VS. BOSTON COLLEGE Rubby De La Rosa (2 innings) Matt Barnes (2 innings) Miguel Celestino Tommy Layne Alex Wilson FEB. 28 VS. TWINS Anthony Ranaudo (2 innings) Dalier Hinojosa (2 innings) Francisco Cordero Andrew Miller MARCH 1 AT TWINS Allen Webster (2 innings) Drake Britton (2 innings) Oscar Villarreal Jose Mijares