BOSTON (CBS) — The legend of Brock Holt continues to grow with each game. It doesn’t matter where John Farrell pencils his super-utility man in to play, the rookie makes a difference.
Holt got the start in center field on Tuesday, his fifth position of the season, and made his presence felt early on.
With twilight hitting Fenway Park in the third inning, Minnesota’s Brian Dozier lifted a pop fly to left field. Jonny Gomes had no idea where the ball was as it descended towards the ground, but luckily, a very alert Holt was on the move. With his best Superman impression, Holt lunged well behind Gomes and made a diving catch right in front of the warning track to end the inning.
Not bad for a kid making his MLB debut in center.
“It’s one of those things where you look over and you see Gomes’ arms out and try to do all you can, looking at him, looking at the ball, looking at him — he never picked it up. Fortunately I was able to get over there and make a play on it,” Holt said following Boston’s 2-1 win. “I ran to the wrong spot, that’s why I had to [dive]. I thought the ball was going to be somewhere and it ended up somewhere else, that’s why I had to kind of dive backwards for it.”
“The biggest thing that impresses me is not the catch, but the wherewithal of a guy who hasn’t played outfield a lot, especially center field, to be backing up and moving that direction when the ball’s hit. The guy’s a smart baseball player,” said Boston starter Jon Lester, who also did not see the pop up off the bat of Dozier. “You’d hardly know it was his first game in center field.”
Holt’s contributions didn’t end in the field though. He’s been swinging a hot bat all season, and it has shown no signs of cooling off. Right after making his inning-ending catch, Holt led off the bottom of the third with a double off the Green Monster. He then stole third (he’s now tied for the team-lead with five swipes on the season), and then scored the game-winning run on a sac fly. Holt has now reached base in 24 of 26 starts this season as a leadoff hitter while batting .345 (40-for-116). With two more hits on Tuesday night, Holt has multiple hits in nine of his last 17 games.
“It seems like Brock, each game, has an effect on what’s going on,” said Lester.
Holt can now add center field to his resume, which also includes starts at third base, first base, left and right field this season. He even moved over to right field for the ninth inning Tuesday night, but for a player who couldn’t crack the roster as a backup infielder out of spring training, Holt is just happy to be playing — and playing well.
“It’s a lot of fun,” he said of the musical chairs he’s been playing around the diamond. “New challenge, I enjoyed it. I’m enjoying the challenge of moving around.”
“The best way to wrap it up — he’s a good baseball player,” said Farrell. “And I say that in general, but he understands the game, he’s athletic, he’s got speed. I think he’s improved his base stealing and overall base running from the time we got him here. I think, more than anything, he’s really flourishing in the flexibility we’re providing for him.”
In a season that doesn’t have many bright spots for the Red Sox, it’s nice to see a young player not only open to putting on many different hats for the team, but flourishing while doing so.
Andy Gresh & Scott Zolak discussed the fan favorite Wednesday morning to start their show and how he’s turning into this mythical figure.
They then dive into the historical archives and come up with other cult heroes to play for the Red Sox, as well as around the sporting world.