BOSTON -- The Red Sox clubhouse has a different feel to it since Mike Carp went on the disabled list on June 1.
The team went 12-20 in his absence, and when he returned to Fenway Park on Monday the team was nine games back of first-place Baltimore.
The Red Sox were 27-29 when Carp hit the DL with a fractured foot, and they were six games out of first place in the American League East. Though things weren't exactly looking promising then, players' frustration-levels have mounted since.
"It tolls," Carp said. "Obviously you're not gonna not be affected by it. It's there. There's reminders everyday. We have one task at hand, we have one job to do. Our job is to win today and we do the best we can everyday to win. It's just unfortunate that hasn't happened lately."
Carp was activated to the 25-man roster on Monday after completing his rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket. While he's been getting healthy, riding what he calls "puddle hopper" airplanes and playing in places like Syracuse and Columbus, he said it was difficult to watch from afar as his teammates slid further back in the standings.
"As close as we are as a group, it's tough to watch your brothers struggling," Carp said. "You want to be able to do anything you can to help or be there for them to help out any way you can. To be apart -- those first two weeks in the boot were a long time at home -- and the team's on the road and you're watching. But it's part of the process. Last year everything went right. This year, things haven't gone our way, but we're still fighting and crawling and getting back. But it's a process. It's a long process. Still a lot of baseball left. We're not even at the All-Star break yet. Things could change dramatically, especially in our division. It's one of those divisions where things could slide fast, or things could go in your favor."
Carp brings with him an element of optimism to the Red Sox clubhouse. He's not in the starting lineup for the second consecutive day on Wednesday, but he's grown accustomed to his role on the team as a reserve and excelled last season as the team's lefthanded pinch-hitting option.
In that job, he thrived by not pressing at the plate -- something his teammates have admitted to falling into as they try desperately to try to snap out of their offensive woe.
"We're all human," he said. "It's an element that only special people can really avoid. It just comes individually, it's taking care of your individual self, what you can do to control that game during that game. You do your job, you hope the eight other guys that night do their job and you win."