|Mike Carp: ‘To put on a Red Sox uniform is definitely going to mean a lot’||02.22.13 at 9:39 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — In the middle of his physical Friday morning at JetBlue Park, Mike Carp spoke about what it would mean to actually make the Red Sox’ 25-man roster to open the season, one year after a shoulder injury he suffered in the MLB opener in Japan.
Carp dove for a fly ball in left field and injured his right shoulder in the opener against Oakland at the Tokyo Dome.
“You have 55,000 people over in Japan. I’m not coming out of that game,” Carp said Friday morning. “It’s the first game of the season. I’ve waited my whole life to make an opening day roster.”
He spent two stints on the disabled list trying to heal it while also battling a groin injury. One year after hitting .276 with 12 homers and 46 RBIs in 79 games for the Mariners in 2011, he fell to .213 in 59 games with just five home runs.
Now, following this week’s trade that sent him to Boston for a player to be named, he is competing for a big league roster spot on the Red Sox.
“I had a lot of expectations coming into last year,” Carp said. “Had a big 2011, finally getting an opportunity to play. Just one of those tough luck plays. It’s opening night. You can’t really write a better story than getting hurt opening night I guess. I think it’s going to make mentally tough and definitely kept me hungry for this year. I’m excited to be healthy for a full season.
“[Healing the shoulder] took some time because it was a pretty significant injury but towards the end of the season, that second stint on the DL really helped. We went through the whole rehab process and have been feeling normal ever since. Nothing crazy, just had to wait for it to heal. Just banged up more than anything. No surgery or anything like that.
“I’m excited to be healthy. Going to out and perform the best I can and we’ll see what happens at the end of spring.”
Carp said he spent the last two weeks staying in shape and trying to be ready for whatever deal might come after being designated for assignment. He was traded to Boston and immediately placed on Boston’s 40-man roster since he has no options remaining.
“Just hanging out and kind of limbo and don’t want to do too much,” Carp said. “Obviously, stay in shape, doing light baseball stuff but didn’t want to go too crazy out there. Heard some rumors. To put on a Red Sox uniform is definitely going to mean a lot.”
The 26-year-old Carp is convinced that Boston is a good fit for him.
“Rebuilding, getting back at it, and winning ballclub,” Carp said. “We’re here to win. It’s not like the Mariners how you start from the bottom and try to work our way up. I’m excited to help out any way I can, play first, left, DH maybe. Get some opportunities and hopefully, take advantage of them.”
He knows he’s been brought in to compete with 36-year-old Lyle Overbay and Daniel Nava as a left-handed batting first base/outfield option.
“It’s always a competition,” Carp said. “Somebody is always trying to take your job. You have to stay hungry, you have stay healthy and stay at it. I’m excited. They did a lot of big moves this offseason, definitely trying to get back to winning around here and hopefully, I can help out any way I can.
“Everybody is trying to win a job here, so anybody can do it. So just have to stay hungry, stay healthy and go out and play to the best of your capabilities.”
Carp said he’s excited about batting at Fenway Park.
“Definitely excited about left field,” he said. “I use the whole field. If I can use that Monster to my advantage, get a couple of doubles and makes for a lot more dynamic than Safeco where balls get run down [in the outfield].”
Safeco Field just moved the right field fence in starting this season, just in time for him to leave.
“Tough luck on my part but the AL East has a bunch of short porches,” he smiled.
“Working hard on both. They said I was more limited to first. I feel pretty healthy so I’m going to try to get out there to the outfield and perform out there and take my reps at both spots and just try to make the team.
If he makes the Boston roster, he’ll be the first player since Curt Schilling to wear No. 38.
“Long tradition,” Carp said. “You can’t expect anything but that. So, I’m excited to get out to Fenway and actually be in the home dugout instead of the visitors’ side. It’ll be good.”
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