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No carping, just mashing: Mike Carp embraces role, makes most of opportunity

06.09.13 at 9:11 pm ET
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When the Red Sox acquired Mike Carp early in spring training, he was expected to compete for a spot on the major league roster. Now that he is batting .317/.360/.659 in mid-June, Carp’€™s role may be expanding beyond that of the occasional insurance option off the bench.

The 26-year-old hit a first-pitch curveball over the fence in center field for his sixth homer of the season Sunday afternoon as the Red Sox topped the Angels, 10-5, and Carp once again demonstrated an ability to make an impact when given an opportunity. Carp, mostly relegated to spot starts and infrequent pinch-hitting opportunities early in the year, has seen increased since Shane Victorino landed on the DL in late-May. His performance may result in more frequent appearances.

Carp has appeared in all 15 Red Sox games since Victorino was put on the DL and started 12 of them. Since then, Carp is batting .325/.362/.698 with four home runs, four doubles, 12 runs and 12 RBIs. Those are the kind of numbers that John Farrell takes notice of.

‘€œWe can’€™t overstate the performance he has given us,’€ Farrell said. ‘€œThis is a guy that we picked up at the end of spring training where seemingly he didn’€™t have a home. …  Whether it has been in left field or first base, he gives us a guy that others have to contend with, with the ability to drive the ball out of the ballpark.”

Even with the stellar stats right now, Carp knows his job is not to be a starting outfielder. Still, he embraces the opportunity to do what he can to help the team.

‘€œMy role is a bench guy,’€ Carp said. ‘€œUnfortunately a couple guys went down and my playing time increased. I’€™m here for them as a backup to them in case something like that does happen. Unfortunately it should probably go back to the way it was, but I’€™m fine with that. That is what I was brought in here for.’€

That role could increase if the Red Sox continue to give Victorino maintenance days. With the outfielder having already dealt with injuries to his back, side and hamstring, Farrell has outlined the notion that the Sox will build regular rest into his schedule in order to prevent the crash-prone outfielder from getting too banged up. Carp’s performance has allowed the Sox to commit to that strategy without hesitation.

‘€œWe are just focused on winning one game at a time,’€ Carp said. ‘€œWhoever is in the lineup is going to do their best to make that happen. Whatever lineup we roll out is going to be pretty potent and going to be fun to watch.’€

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