'Carp' Diem: Mike Carp looking to make most of Sox opportunity

'Carp' Diem: Mike Carp looking to make most of Sox opportunity
February 22, 2013, 1:30 pm
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FORT MYERS, Fla. – Mike Carp, whom the Red Sox acquired from the Mariners on Wednesday, for a player to be named or cash, was in the team’s clubhouse this morning. He will join the Sox competition for the back-up first baseman/left fielder job.
 
It had been a whirlwind few days for the Sox newest acquisition, who was designated for assignment by the Mariners on Feb. 13 and had not yet reported to spring training when he was designated.

“Definitely, just being designated, it’s a new process,” said Carp, who was in the process of completing his team physical. “But to get over here and have the opportunity over here, it means a lot.”
 
Carp appeared in just 59 games for the Mariners last season, batting .213 with five home runs, 20 RBI, a .312 on-base percentage, and .341 slugging percentage. He was limited by an injury to his right shoulder, when he dove for a ball in left field on Opening Night, March 28, against the A’s in Tokyo.
 
Carp had three separate trips to the disabled list last season, missing a total of 78 games. From March 29 – May 1, the sprained right shoulder sidelined him. He missed June 11- July 24 with an inflamed right shoulder, and Aug. 14 – Sept. 4 with a strained left groin. The shoulder injury did not require surgery, just rest and rehab. Carp said he is fully healthy now.
 
Carp, who turns 27 in June, was a ninth-round pick of the Mets in 2004, before being traded to the Mariners as part of a three-team trade in December 2008. A right-handed batter, he has hit .255, with a .327 OBP, and .413 SLG in 173 games since making his big league debut in 2009. He has played 82 games at first base, 52 in left field, and one in right.
 
He sees the Red Sox as a good fit for him, but he knows the job is not guaranteed. He will be competing with Lyle Overbay and Daniel Nava to back-up Mike Napoli at first and Jonny Gomes in left.
 
“I’m excited to be healthy,” Carp said. “So I’m going to go out and perform the best I can, and we’ll see what happens at the end of spring.
 
“It’s always a competition. Somebody’s always trying to take your job. So you got to stay hungry, you got to stay healthy, and keep at it.
 
“Working hard on both [first and left]…I feel pretty healthy, so I’m going to try to get out there to the outfield. Try to perform out there, take my reps at both spots and just try to make the team.”
 
Like Gomes, though, Carp has hit left-handers better throughout his career than right-handers. Against lefties he's batting .300, going 39-for-13, with a .341 OBP and .462 SLG, against righties he is .241 (100-for-415) with a .323 OBP and .398 SLG.
 
While Overbay is on a minor league contract, Carp is on the 40-man roster (Ryan Kalish was placed on the 60-day DL to make room) and is out of options, circumstances that could be to his advantage. He is not looking at it that way, though.
 
“Everybody’s trying to win a job here,” he said. “So anybody can do it. Just got to stay hungry, stay healthy, and play to the best of your capabilities.”
 
While Carp has appeared in just four games at Fenway Park, he’s had success there, hitting .286/.333/.714 with two home runs.
 
“Yeah, luckily it’s been good so far,” he said. “So I got that on my side going. So if we can get to Opening Day, confidence will be shooting high.”