For the second straight day, Red Sox utility infielder Jonathan Herrera played third base against the Milwaukee Brewers and was slotted seventh in the batting order on Sunday.
During warmups Saturday, Will Middlebrooks strained his calf after doing sprints in the outfield and Herrera made his season debut. Middlebrooks was placed on the 15-day disabled list, and infielder Brock Holt had also been called up from Pawtucket.
Herrera, a six-year veteran who carved a role as a utility man with the Colorado Rockies, usually plays in the middle of the infield.
He’s made 142 starts at second base and 70 at shortstop, while starting just 17 at third base.
Herrera said he has been taking ground balls at third and welcomes the challenge.
“The last few years I’ve played enough games to be comfortable at third base,” Herrera said. “It’s a nice opportunity to be part of this team. I’m happy to be here and I’m enjoying any opportunity to play.
“That’s the job I’ve been doing the last few years, I’m comfortable in the middle of the infield. But second, third and short for me, is pretty much the same.”
Herrera went 1-for-4 Saturday in Boston’s 7-6, 11-inning loss to Milwaukee. He played the entire game and recorded a putout and an assist.
“[Herrera] is a veteran guy accustomed to that role, he finds a way to contribute based on his skills and was able to do that last night,” manager John Farrell said. “Short notice, given the level of experience he has, he’s been in that situation before and did everything we could’ve asked.”
Before being called up to Boston, Holt was slated to start at third in Pawtucket’s finale against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Last season he played 26 games with the Red Sox and made 17 starts at third.
In three games with Pawtucket, Holt has hit .364 with a pair of doubles, three runs scored and a stolen base.
“We’ll see what the best matchup might provide with those two,” Farrell said.
The Red Sox also have 22-year-old prospect Garin Cecchini in Pawtucket, but Farrell said he didn’t think he was quite ready yet.
“While he’s had good at bats there, there’s still some development defensively,” Farrell said. “His time is coming, but didn’t feel it was right now.”