Mike Carp Shows He’s No Afterthought With Big Game in First Start With Red Sox

Mike CarpMike Carp waited patiently for his first start in a Red Sox uniform. He made the wait count on Wednesday.

Carp went 3-for-3 with three extra-base hits in the Red Sox’ 6-3 victory over the Indians. He drove in a run in the fifth inning with a three-bagger off the center-field wall, and his effort went a long way toward showing he’s more than just an afterthought in Boston’s 2013 game plan.

Carp had gotten just three at-bats before Wednesday’s game, going 0-for-3 with a strikeout. With so many guys enjoying early-season success and so many storylines playing out before our very eyes, it was easy to overlook Carp, who the Red Sox acquired back in February. But there could come a point relatively soon when Carp will become an integral component of the Red Sox’ bench.

When David Ortiz returns to the Red Sox’ lineup, it’s likely that Jackie Bradley Jr. will find himself headed down to Triple-A. That will mean there’s one less outfielder in the mix, and Carp could thus find himself logging some playing time in the outfield in addition to first base, which is where he played on Wednesday. In fact, Carp’s ability to play both the outfield and first base was a big reason why the team opted to keep him over Lyle Overbay, who was also vying for a spot on the Red Sox’ roster during spring training.

Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes will probably continue to platoon as long as the recipe works, but Carp gives the Red Sox another option that can hit versus left-handers. And judging by his effort against the Indians, it’s clear he can also do some damage against righties as well.

Mike Napoli has played in all of Boston’s 14 games, but there will undoubtedly come a time soon when he’ll need a breather. Nava, who learned to play first base during spring training, is an option, but Carp isn’t to be thrown to the side completely.

Will Carp be the first option off the bench going forward? Probably not. His big day on Wednesday, however, shows that the Red Sox’ bench is perhaps a lot deeper than initially thought.

Not a bad day’s work for No. 37.

Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle or send it here.

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