BOSTON (CBS) — The Red Sox have lost their share of players on both corners of the infield this season, but luckily rookie Brock Holt has been there to step in when needed.
He filled in for Will Middlebrooks when the third baseman went down with a broken finger last month, giving Boston some strong play at the hot corner. Now that Stephen Drew is back to secure the defense at shortstop, Xander Bogaerts will shift to third, and Holt is moving across the diamond to man first in place of the injured Mike Carp and Mike Napoli. Both are currently on the disabled list, opening up a new spot for the 25-year-old Holt.
Holt played his first game at first base in Sunday’s 4-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, and though he had trouble handling a Bogaerts throw short in the eighth inning and was charged with an error, he did an admirable job throughout the game.
But it was Holt’s play at the plate which propelled the Red Sox to their seventh straight victory, as he went 4-for-4 with four doubles and two RBIs out of the leadoff spot.
“It was a fun day,” he said with a smile in the Boston locker room after the win. “Anytime you can go out and do something like that it’s pretty special. I had a little luck on my side, but all-in-all it was a good day.”
Holt is the first big leaguer with four doubles in a single game since Victor Martinez did it for Detroit back in 2010. He is the first rookie to accomplish the feat since 2004, and is just the sixth Red Sox player to collect four doubles in a game since 1914.
To say Holt is red-hot for the Red Sox is an understatement. He has reached base in 11 of his last 13 games, hitting at a .375 clip, and has multiple hits in seven of those 13 contests. For the season, Holt is batting .337 with one homer (which came in Saturday’s 7-1 victory over Tampa), nine doubles, one triple, three stolen bases and 11 RBIs.
Whether it be first or third base, batting in the bottom third of the lineup or at the top, Holt has been there for Boston. He took over the leadoff spot last week and is hitting .353 with a .375 OBP while clubbing seven doubles and scoring nine runs at the top of the order.
Now it’s up to manager John Farrell to find ways to keep Holt and his hot bat in the lineup.
“He’s doing a great job,” Farrell said Sunday afternoon. “He’s solidified the leadoff spot as we mentioned before the game, trying to find ways with defensive flexibility to keep him on the field. He stays inside some pitches to go the other way. He uses the whole field. He’s driving the ball with a little bit more authority this year than a year ago and is playing with a lot of confidence. First time he’s ever played first base today and he did a good job.”
“It was a lot of fun,” Hold said of playing first. “I didn’t really know what to expect over there, but I enjoyed that new challenge. .. You try not to think about your defense and offense mixing together; that’s something I’ve tried to do my whole career. That helped me out today as well.”
Holt was acquired by Boston last off-season from Pittsburgh along with reliever Joel Hanrahan, and was a bit of an after-thought when the trade was first made. The Red Sox were set in the infield, and Holt was seen as a minor-league depth player that could help if the big-league team was in a pinch.
They’ve been in a pinch for most of the start of 2014, and Holt has been there to help. His current hot streak has him brimming with confidence no matter where he plays in the field or hits in the order, and that’s great news for the Red Sox.
“It’s huge. Confidence and comfort are a big part of this game, and those are two things I’m feeling a lot of right now,” said Holt. “I’m just going to try to keep it going and keep winnings games.”
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