<
>

Cecchini soaks in life in the bigs

6/1/2014

BOSTON -- Garin Cecchini is one excitable young man.

Upon getting his call-up from Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday night, the 23-year-old third baseman could hardly sleep. In fact, he got to Fenway Park so early he was concerned he wasn’t going to be let in.

“I’m glad there was somebody around to let me in,” Cecchini said of his first major league experience. “It took a little while.”

It’s been an exciting few days for Cecchini, who saw PawSox roommate Alex Hassan get his big league call on Friday.

“When he got the call, I think I was more excited than him,” Cecchini said of Hassan, who will make his major league debut on Sunday, playing right field against the Tampa Bay Rays.

To make room for Cecchini, right-handed reliever Alex Wilson was optioned back to Pawtucket.

Cecchini’s stay in Boston could be brief -- he likely will be sent down when Stephen Drew is activated this week -- but he was simply intent on soaking up the scenes of Fenway. He was out early before batting practice with Red Sox third base coach Brian Butterfield learning the lay of the land and going over defensive shift assignments.

“It’s cliché, but I’m just trying to live this day,” Cecchini said. “It’s a big day for me and my family.”

While observers say Cecchini has a way to go defensively before becoming a major league third baseman, he’s in the process of acclimating to Triple-A pitching, leading the PawSox with 49 hits. A fourth-round selection of the Red Sox in the 2010 draft, Cecchini was hitting .278 (.354 OBP) with a home run and 21 RBIs at the time of the recall.

“I’m getting more consistent every day,” Cecchini said. “That’s what it’s all about now. I’m just getting the job done. It doesn’t matter how it looks -- just get the job done.”

Local boy makes debut: Even in Boston, there’s little separating Cecchini from his roommate, Hassan. There are two temporary locker stalls set up for Cecchini and Hassan in the middle of the Red Sox clubhouse.

Red Sox manager John Farrell looked back fondly on Hassan’s spring training experience, seeing promise in the plate discipline from the Milton native and Boston College High School graduate.

“If goes out and puts on the at-bats we’ve seen in spring training, he’s going to be just fine,” Farrell said. “He had some of the most consistent at-bats the entire time he was there with us.”

Hassan is batting sixth in Sunday’s lineup.

Holt in a new role: Is there anything Brock Holt can’t do? Sunday we'll see if the utility infielder, who’s taken up residence in the leadoff spot of the Red Sox lineup, can tackle first base as well.

Holt said has never played the position at any level of competitive baseball -- “until about 10:30 this morning.”

With Mike Carp being given a day’s rest -- after being hit by several pitches in the last week -- and a left-hander on the mound in former Red Sox Erik Bedard, the move was made to keep Holt in the lineup, as Farrell continues to seek out ways to expand Holt’s on-field repertoire.

“He’s adding versatility,” said Farrell, who also has had Holt taking fly balls in the outfield during recent batting practice sessions.

“Really, it’s just hold the guy on and then coming off,” Holt said of navigating the first base bag. “Other than that, you mess around at BP catching balls for guys at first. It’s going to be fun being over there today.”

Injury front: It might be a while still, but some members of the Red Sox MASH unit that has grown over the last couple of weeks could be getting closer to the field -- in particular, first baseman Mike Napoli.

Farrell expects Napoli (finger) to be ready next Sunday, in Detroit, when he’s first able to come off the disabled list.

“Everything projects for him to be ready to go,” Farrell said.

Farrell also provided updates on several other Red Sox who are a bit further away.

Shane Victorino (hamstring) has begun running the bases, while Clay Buchholz (knee) will throw a simulated game on Monday.

Felix Doubront (shoulder) has thrown two bullpen sessions this week, but plans have not yet been made to begin a rehab assignment.

Farrell also reported that Will Middlebrooks (right index finger) now has a full range of motion with his injured digit, meaning he soon could be cleared for baseball activity.