Brock Holt

What will Brock Holt do next? (And where will he do it?)

Rob Bradford
April 21, 2015 - 8:56 pm

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- It was another night to single out Brock Holt's value. This time -- in the Red Sox' 1-0 win over the Rays Tuesday at Tropicana Field -- Holt made his presence felt with two sparkling defensive plays at shortstop. The first was a diving stop up the middle, ending with a rocket throw to first to end the second inning. The second came in the seventh, when he also dove, but this time toward third, forcing an even stronger toss to Daniel Nava at first for the inning-ender. Both plays were about as good as even the best shortstop could hope for. "The thing that really has stood out the last year or so as we'€™ve gotten to the left side of the infield is his arm strength," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "He pops up and makes good strong throws and we didn'€™t know how strong his arm was because he came to us primarily as a second baseman. Over the course of a couple of years he'€™s lengthened it out, he'€™s gained some arm strength and it shows up tonight." While he didn't end up with a hit for just the third time in his nine games, Holt did manage a perfectly-executed ninth inning sacrifice bunt. The lefty hitter is still hitting .414 with a .916 OPS. And when it was all said and done, with the team bus ready to head back to the hotel, there was just one more question to be asked: where was he going to play Wednesday? "I don't know," Holt said. It's a game that's all the rage these days -- guess where Brock Holt will play. Not how will he play, because that's become a constant. Not will he play, since Farrell has made it a point to find a way to find him a spot. It's strange to say, but you could make a case that Holt has looked as good, if not better, than every single one of the "regulars" he has given a breather to thus far this season. The latest example was against the Rays, with Holt making a pair of plays that would have been classified as among the best of Xander Bogaerts' career. In case you weren't soaking in, what we're witnessing with Holt is a baseball oddity. In the last two seasons, Holt has played eight positions, making just seven errors (6 of which came at third base). So what, and where, now? Let's play the game ... The guess for Wednesday is that Holt doesn't get the start. The Red Sox are facing right-hander Nate Karns, who hasn't faced any of the current Sox and isn't more effective against one side of the plate compared to the other. Pablo Sandoval will be hitting left-handed. Bogaerts and Dustin Pedroia have both had recent days off. Mike Napoli figures to be back after a rest. All outfield spots seem to be locked up, with Shane Victorino finishing his Tuesday night with a double, and Hanley Ramirez and Mookie Betts both seemingly carrying some offensive momentum heading into Game 2 of the series. We could be wrong, but the next time we see Holt in the starting lineup might be Thursday against Tampa Bay starter Jake Odorizzi. At what position? Well, let's put one of the regular defenders at the designated hitter spot, giving David Ortiz the day off. Ortiz is 1-for-10 against Odorizzi, and will have spent the previous two days trucking around the Tropicana Field turf. Welcome to the most popular guessing game in New England these days (with Holt trying to guess right along with everybody else). "I want to play," Holt said. "John does a good job of telling me pretty early the day before that I'€™ll be in there and where I'€™m playing. So i can get ready that way. I want to be in there as much as I can. Obviously there are some really good players on this team so I'€™m just here to help out whenever and wherever I can."