He waited. And he waited. And then he waited some more.
Red Sox manager John Farrell never turned to No. 26 in Boston’s 19-inning, series-opening win at Yankee Stadium, but he sure needed the super utility man Saturday. Holt answered the long-awaited call with a four-hit performance out of the leadoff spot that infused energy into the sleep-deprived Sox.
“Be ready to play every day. I was ready to go today,” Holt said after Boston downed New York 8-4 on Saturday. “John gave me the word last night that I’d be in there in center, so I was able to sleep on it, kind of get ready. I was fortunate to have a good day, but the mindset is to come to the field every day ready to go. If you’re in the lineup, get ready to play. If not, get ready to come in. It was a good day.”
Holt, who started in center field in place of Mookie Betts, only had one at-bat this season before Saturday’s contest. Farrell told him before leaving the ballpark following Friday’s game he’d be in the starting lineup for the teams’ middle game, though, as a few players needed a blow after a draining battle that lasted almost seven hours.
Holt, as he did all throughout last season, seized the opportunity. He supplied three singles and then broke the game open in the eighth inning with a three-run double to right-center field.
“I’m probably not going to do that every time I go in there,” Holt said of racking up four hits in his first start of 2015. “But it’s nice to get off on a good start and get the win. That’s the biggest thing.”
To summarize, Holt did Holt things. He proved to be the perfect catalyst for a team that wrapped up a victory at 2:13 a.m. Saturday morning, only to then return to the yard hours later for a 1:05 p.m. start.
Outfielder Daniel Nava also spearheaded the Red Sox’s offense with two hits and two RBIs, and Joe Kelly dominated on the bump for seven innings in his 2015 regular-season debut. But Holt’s performance offered a reminder of just how important he was last season despite Boston’s struggles and how important he’ll be this season, particularly when players begin to wear down or injuries crop up.
“We’ve got 25 guys who are all rooting for each other,” Holt said. “All of us know our roles and what we’re supposed to do, and things are going well right now for us.”
Holt has evolved into the gold standard for super utility players. He does everything well, conducts himself with poise and accepts the notion he might go a few days without sniffing the diamond.
The Red Sox don’t take it for granted, although it’d be easy to given how unfazed Holt typically is by even the most unpredictable circumstances.
Thumbnail photo via Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY Sports Images
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