Red Sox pregame notes: Jonny Gomes 'has taken' left field job, Brock Holt getting groomed for superutility role

May 31, 2014 - 3:44 pm
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With the struggles of Daniel Nava to start the 2014 season, the Red Sox's plans to continue a platoon of Nava and Jonny Gomes in left field in 2014 as they had during their 2013 World Series were squashed early. Since Nava's initial demotion to Pawtucket, a cast of many characters has seen time in left, ranging from Gomes to Mike Carp to Grady Sizemore. Since Shane Victorino went down with a right hamstring strain for the second time this season, the need for an everyday outfielder has been accentuated. In has stepped Gomes. Gomes has started every game in the outfield since May 20. Gomes, who played primarily when lefties were on the mound last year, has seen significant time recently against righties. Manager John Farrell said before Saturday's contest against the Rays that Gomes will continue to do so, making him the de facto everyday left fielder. "[Jonny]'s taken the job," Farrell said. "It's about competition and who's producing and even though you'd like to put guys in position to matchup, overall Jonny has taken the job." So far this season, Gomes is hitting .240/.336/.405 with five home runs, 23 RBIs, five doubles and 16 runs scored. Gomes has noticed that with more playing time, he's had to adjust his pre-game routine. "You've just got to limit your weight lifting, the gym side of it," Gomes said. "You've got to limit your swings in the cage. You want to try use as much energy as you'd use in a nine-inning ballgame if you weren't playing before the game and save a little bit if you have to come off the bench. That being said, you can't really get a big leg workout and hit a bunch off the tee or off the machine. You've got to save the energy for the game." OTHER RED SOX NOTES -- With Stephen Drew likely returning on Monday to the Red Sox, Brock Holt is expected to see a reduction in playing time. Holt, who has been a sparkplug since being recalled from Pawtucket in place of Will Middlebrooks, will begin to take some fly balls in the outfield and take some grounders at first base in preparation for a potential superutility role. "We'll get him just to shag fly balls first and then look to gain some comfort, read some balls off the bat in [batting practice], whether that ends up being in left or center in a given situation because of some in-game movement that took place," Farrell said. "I think his play and his contributions merit additional flexibility." Farrell said that there is no set timetable for how long it takes a player to adapt to work in the outfield, and that each individual case is distinct. But what has become clear is that he's forged a role with the Sox that is likely to last beyond Drew's return. Since coming up from Pawtucket on May 17, Holt is hitting .278/.310/.370 with three RBIs, five doubles and seven runs.

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