Mike Carp had three plate appearances over the first 12 games of the season for the Red Sox. That was one extreme.
Then he started 10 of 13 games the Sox played from May 23 through Wednesday. That was the other extreme.
Carp, a 26-year-old outfielder and occasional first baseman, has learned to deal with a variety of roles in his first season with the Sox. He also has thrived, hitting .299 with a .968 OPS.
Of Carp’s 23 hits this season, 15 have been for extra bases. He also has 17 RBIs.
“You try to understand it’s a team game and how our bench is set up,” Carp said Thursday before the Red Sox faced the Texas Rangers. “One of our strengths has been getting production off the bench. John [Farrell] has been able to put guys in the right spot.”
Carp was designated for assignment by the Mariners as spring training started. Seattle traded him to the Sox Feb. 20. The Sox needed a lefthanded bat off their bench and Carp fit their roster with his defensive versatility.
“We’ve had very good reviews on him, scouting reports, a guy that has been a productive lefthanded bat,” Farrell said. “The fact is, he capitalizes on some opportunities. He gives us a huge lift, being able to turn to a guy that’s got that experience and success in his background. Again, it shows the overall depth and our ability to sustain when guys have missed some time.”
The Sox are 13-7 when Carp starts. After four seasons with the perpetually struggling Mariners, going to the Red Sox was the fresh start he needed.
“When you do something off the bench here, it’s exciting. I love the atmosphere,” said Carp, who was 0 for 1 as a pinch hitter in Thursday night’s 6-3 win. “I know what my role is. Everybody wants to play every day but I realize what they need me to do.”
Carp said the communication the bench players receive from the coaches makes it easier.
“I always get a heads-up about whether I’m going to be playing or in a case like [Thursday] not playing,” Carp said. “That helps you prepare for the game ahead of time.
“Being on a winning team, after those years in Seattle, is a great feeling. It makes it a lot of fun.”
Jacoby Ellsbury was back in the lineup after missing five games with a strained left groin. The injury occurred while stealing second base in Philadelphia May 30 and the Sox will let Ellsbury decide how often he will be on the run as he recovers.
It was a successful return for the leadoff man, who collected four hits and two runs. He did not attempt a stolen base.
“It’s something that we’ll continue to talk with him about as he comes out of each game, monitoring it,” Farrell said. “Kind of left it in his hands as far as how aggressive he’ll be on the base paths.
“But the fact that he was able to at least show some explosiveness on the field [Wednesday], otherwise we wouldn’t have put him in there. We don’t want to restrict him completely of any kind of base-stealing opportunities. But all things considered, we’ll balance all of that and monitor how he comes out of each game.”
Weather permitting — there is rain expected — Felix Doubront will face the Angels on Friday night. He is 1-1 with a 2.74 earned run average in his last four starts.
Doubront had a 6.40 ERA in his first six appearances of the season. But mechanical adjustments made by pitching coach Juan Nieves along with adjustments to his routine between starts produced improved results.
“With each successive outing, he feels more comfortable with them. He’s gained confidence,” Farrell said. “He’s attacked the strike zone with more consistency and better success. We’re seeing better life to all his pitches through the strike zone.”
It would be Doubront’s first start against the Angels. He threw one inning of relief against them in 2010.
Collins gets honor
Former Celtics center Jason Collins threw out the first pitch and received warm applause from the crowd.
The Red Sox, via Twitter, extended the invitation to Collins when he announced he was gay last month.
Collins is in Boston to march in the Boston Pride Parade on Saturday.
It’s unusual for a manager to catch the ceremonial first pitch. But Farrell grabbed his glove when Collins went to the mound. It was a show of support.
“This is an opportunity for us as an organization. We respect his courage. We respect his choices,” Farrell said.
“This is an opportunity to showcase that. At the time that this was a possibility of coming out, we had said we were an organization that embraces all. This is a very small way of showing that.”
Shane Victorino was 2 for 4 with a home run for Triple A Pawtucket in his first injury rehabilitation game. He started in right field and played seven innings in a 10-5 loss against Charlotte. Victorino is expected to play one or two more games for Pawtucket. Will Middlebrooks was 1 for 4 with a home run. The third baseman is 4 for 9 with two home runs through three games on his rehab assignment. Victorino is on the disabled list with with a left hamstring strain. Middlebrooks is out with a back strain . . . Texas placed first baseman Mitch Moreland on the 15-day DL with a strained right hamstring and purchased the contract of first baseman Chris McGuiness from Triple A Round Rock. That name may sound familiar. McGuiness was drafted by the Red Sox in the 13th round in 2009 and was one of three prospects sent to Texas at the trade deadline in 2010 for Jarrod Saltalamacchia. McGuiness, 25, is in the majors for the first time . . . Mery Daniel, who lost her left leg in the Marathon bombings, delivered the ball to the mound before the game. David Ortiz pushed her wheelchair out onto the field.
Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.