6/1/2014 7:35 P.M. ET
Holt slides across diamond, makes pro debut at first
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
BOSTON -- A day after manager John Farrell mentioned the priority of increasing Brock Holt's versatility, the red-hot left-handed hitter made his first career start at first base in Sunday's 4-0 win against the Rays.
In fact, Holt had never played an inning of pro ball at first base before Sunday's start.
With Mike Napoli on the disabled list and Mike Carp dealing with a fractured right foot, Farrell felt the occasion was right for the move.
"The way Brock has solidified the leadoff spot and handled the bat, we're finding ways to keep him on the field and keep his bat in the lineup," said Farrell. "We don't feel it's risky at all. He's a good athlete, he's a good infielder. Granted, there's been no experience at the position, but given where we are, we're not hesitant to put him there."
Holt cleanly picked Kevin Kiermaier's grounder in the third and made a clean throw to Jon Lester at the bag to record the frame's first out. Holt was charged with an error in the eighth when he dropped a throw from Xander Bogaerts.
Holt spent time before the game working with infield instructor/third-base coach Brian Butterfield.
"It's more about just getting some reps prior to fielding a throw across the diamond," said Farrell. "And that's getting his bearings on where the bag is going to be as he's making his way over there to anchor himself so, yeah, a little bit of a crash course. He's a good athlete and a good player. Like I said, given where we are, that's the option today."
Holt saw his average jump from .305 to .337 as he notched four doubles and drove home two runs.
"I'm just trying to stick with my approach, getting ready to hit and putting a good swing on it," said Holt. "I'm seeing the ball well right now. Just going up there with some confidence, and like I said, put a good swing on the ball."
Carp likely to land on DL with fractured right foot
BOSTON -- First baseman Mike Carp has a fractured right foot and will likely be placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday.
"He'll be out for a period of time," manager John Farrell said after Boston's 4-0 win over Tampa Bay on Sunday.
First baseman/outfielder Daniel Nava, who was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday to make room for Rubby De La Rosa, will likely be recalled and take Carp's roster spot.
Farrell said the fracture resulted from a pitch that hit Carp in the foot during the Red Sox's 6-3 win over the Braves on Tuesday. Carp went for a CT scan Sunday prior to the game, which revealed the injury.
Carp has posted a .214/.317/.286 slash line in 70 at-bats this season, driving in six runs while scoring eight.
Nava has struggled mightily this season after a strong 2013. His slash line this year is .130/.221/.234. Last season, it was .303/.385/.445 in 134 games.
"When Daniel's right, it's one of the purest left-handed swings we have," Farrell said. "He's still working back to gain that consistency."
Called up as insurance, Cecchini hits RBI double
BOSTON -- It was not false hustle when third baseman Garin Cecchini arrived to Fenway Park at 7:30 ET on Sunday morning. Quite simply, the Red Sox's No. 4 prospect couldn't sleep and couldn't wait to get to the ballpark to soak in his first day as a Major Leaguer.
The Red Sox informed Cecchini he would be recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday and made the move official prior to Sunday's game. Right-hander Alex Wilson was optioned to Pawtucket.
The 23-year-old was not in Sunday's starting lineup, but when Dustin Pedroia got ejected for arguing balls and strikes, Cecchini entered the game at third base.
Cecchini struck out looking in his first at-bat, but he then launched a double off the Green Monster in the seventh for his first career hit and RBI.
"It's a dream come true," Cecchini said. "I'm kind of speechless."
Cecchini's parents, who both coached him throughout his youth, were able to fly to Boston for Sunday's game and the family went out to dinner after the game. They had been in Savannah watching Gavin Cecchini, a Mets prospect.
Cecchini will likely be optioned back to Pawtucket on Monday when shortstop Stephen Drew is activated, but the infielder appreciates getting an opportunity for even one game.
How long will Cecchini keep the wide grin he sported on his face during a postgame interview?
"All year, because I'm living the dream, even if I'm in Triple-A," Cecchini said. I'm living the dream. I'm playing baseball for a living."
Manager John Farrell enjoyed reconnecting with Cecchini after spending a good deal of time with him in Spring Training.
"He was here at 7 in the morning, already dressed," said Farrell. "He's ready to go. He's really a breath of fresh air. He's a great kid, as we saw in Spring Training. He loves the game. He loves everything about it. He will always bring some added energy and life when he's here."
Cecchini is in the midst of his first season at Triple-A, and his 49 hits lead the PawSox. He is hitting .278 with a .354 on-base percentage and has stolen six bases. The Red Sox selected Cecchini in the fourth round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.
"It's an adjustment to the Triple-A pitching, but it's been good," said Cecchini. "I've had success, I've had failures, but it's all about bouncing back from those failures and trying to help the Red Sox win."
Pedroia ejected in finale for arguing balls, strikes
BOSTON -- Second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who grounded out to shortstop in the bottom of the third, was ejected from Sunday afternoon's 4-0 win against the Rays prior to the fourth inning for arguing balls and strikes.
"He had a pitcher's strike zone," manager John Farrell said of home-plate umpire D.J. Reyburn. "Dustin took exception to that second strike in that particular at-bat. Probably said one too many things when he came out for defense the following inning."
Reyburn tossed Pedroia from a distance between frames as Pedroia headed toward second from the dugout. As a result, Jonathan Herrera moved to second base from third and Garin Cecchini made his Major League debut at the hot corner.
Cecchini struck out during his first big league at-bat on a pitch that looked to be a little off the outside part of the plate. He jumped up slightly when Reyburn punched him out.
"That's that umpire's strike zone and we have to make the adjustment," Cecchini said.
Pedroia was back in the lineup Sunday after sitting out Saturday with a bruised right hand. He landed awkwardly fielding a throw from catcher A.J. Pierzynski in the second inning of Friday night's 3-2 win. An MRI Saturday revealed no fracture or structural damage in his hand.
Napoli should return for Detroit finale on June 8
BOSTON -- The Red Sox should have slugger Mike Napoli's bat back in one week.
Manager John Farrell said that Napoli should be activated from the disabled list the first day he is eligible, on June 8 at Detroit.
Though Napoli is sidelined with a sprained left ring finger -- an injury he originally suffered in Chicago on April 15 -- he was dealing with a variety of maladies before finally being placed on the disabled list on May 25.
"It wasn't just the finger," said Napoli. "I was dealing with a lot of stuff. It was probably was the best thing for me. I was going to keep on trying to grind it out, grind it out, but this is probably the best time for me just to get everything fixed, get better so I'm playing somewhat healthy. I think it was just time to do it."
The decision was easier for Napoli to accept with the Red Sox going on a tear with him out of the lineup. The club had a six-game winning streak entering Sunday.
"Seeing them playing like this and winning definitely helps," said Napoli. "I'm concentrating on getting better and coming back and trying to help us."
What was bothering Napoli aside from his finger?
"Toe issue, calf, hammies," Napoli said. "My whole body was beat up. I'm feeling great now. I'm just getting treatment."
And the finger?
"It's getting better. The swelling is starting to go down," Napoli said. "I can actually fit my finger in my batting glove now. I don't have to cut it off."