Mike Carp, 37, celebrates his home run with David Ortiz and Mike Napoli.
One of the key players who will determine if the team passes that test or not is Mike Carp, who figures to see plenty of action while Victorino sits and opponents start right-handers. While playing time has been limited of late for Carp, he showed Friday he was ready to step back into a more prominent role.
Carp hammered a Justin Masterson slider for a three-run homer, the first blow in Boston's 8-1 victory. It snapped an 0-for-21 slide for Carp, a swoon that spanned more than three weeks due to limited at-bats.
The left fielder said he was patient during the difficult stretch, knowing that someday soon his bat would be needed, and on that day someone like Masterson might hang a slider with two men on.
"I knew my role coming in," he said. "I knew it was going to be a bench role and at-bats would be scarce, and I gotta be ready when I do get opportunities."
Carp's homer, his 10th extra-base hit in 14 hits this season, was a no-doubter to right. He might sit again Saturday when Cleveland starts left-hander Scott Kazmir but said he was able to regain some confidence with one big swing.