Quick hits from the Fort: Carp's versatility

February, 23, 2014
Feb 23
5:15
PM ET
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- In his first year with the Red Sox in 2013, Mike Carp accepted his role as a utility player and enjoyed a great amount of success.

Given his abilities as both a first baseman and an outfielder, he could start on some major league teams, but his willingness to come off the bench and produce in key moments was just another special aspect of the Sox’s World Series team.

[+] EnlargeMike Carp
Jim Davis/The Boston Globe/Getty ImagesMike Carp is slated to work out at third base this spring with an eye toward finding another way to get his bat in the lineup.
Carp played a career-high 86 games last season and could possibly have more responsibility this season, as the Red Sox are considering finding a way to get his bat in the lineup on a more consistent basis. The plan this spring is to have him work out at third base in order to get used to the left side of the infield, just in case.

“Stay tuned,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said with a smile.

Last season, Carp posted a .296 average with nine home runs and 43 RBIs as a first baseman, outfielder and pinch hitter.

“He exceeded our expectations when you look at the line that he put up last year,” Farrell said.

The Sox manager said he was impressed with the way Carp could go days without playing, but always came through with a professional at-bat when called upon.

“He performed well in a difficult situation,” Farrell said.

Carp’s versatility could become crucial again in 2014 and Farrell is comfortable with him in the lineup.

“If something were to happen to another guy on our roster where we have to insert Mike Carp for an extended period, we’re perfectly comfortable with that,” Farrell said.

* It’s not a surprise that Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa are gaining a lot of attention this spring from the Japanese media. Their every move is being documented and for good reason. Both pitchers were key contributors last fall. Uehara and Tazawa were impressive in their respective roles as closer and set-up man.

“They are premium strike throwers, so every time they come to the mound we know they’re not going to beat themselves, in terms of issuing bases on balls or creating other issues,” Farrell said.

Like all returning pitchers from last year’s roster, the Red Sox are keeping a close watch on how much each throws this spring because of the added workload last fall.

“We’re mindful of that, as we are with other guys that pitched another month last year, so we’re taking steps to balance some of that,” Farrell said. “They’ve come into camp in great shape. They’ve got tremendous work ethic and they’ll be ready to go once the bell rings Opening Day.”

* Even though catcher A.J. Pierzynski just began his first spring training with the Red Sox, it doesn’t mean he has a lack of knowledge about the club’s pitching staff. The 37-year-old backstop has faced nearly every Red Sox pitcher during his career, and now he’s literally on the receiving end. Through the daily spring training schedule of meetings, bullpen sessions and live BP, Pierzynski’s transition to a new team should be seamless.

According to Farrell, Pierzynski is scheduled to work with each starter in the rotation a minimum of twice during Grapefruit League action. As a season progresses, pitchers have a tendency to find a comfort level with certain catchers, but at this point of spring training that’s not the case, and Farrell has not designated certain battery combinations.

* Newly acquired left-handed pitcher Chris Capuano tossed his first bullpen session with the Red Sox on Sunday. Prior to arriving in camp and passing his physical on Saturday, Capuano already had thrown eight bullpens on his own and had comfortably reached 50 pitches.

* Farrell announced his lineup of pitchers for the upcoming exhibition games.

Feb. 27 vs. Northeastern: Brandon Workman (two innings), Henry Owens (two), Noe Ramirez and Burke Badenhop.

Feb. 27 vs. Boston College: Rubby De La Rosa (two), Matt Barnes (two), Miguel Celestino, Tommy Layne and Alex Wilson.

Feb. 28 vs. Minnesota: Anthony Ranaudo (two), Dalier Hinojosa (two), Francisco Cordero, Andrew Miller.

March 1 vs. Minnesota: Allen Webster (two), Drake Britton (two), Brayan Villareal, Jose Mijares.

Joe McDonald

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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