Carp makes most of rare opportunity

Carp makes most of rare opportunity
April 18, 2013, 2:00 am
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CLEVELAND -- Mike Carp had waited long enough. When he got his chance Wednesday night, he made sure to make the most of it.

After being on the bench for the first 13 games of the season, getting only occasional pinch-hitting chances, Carp finally cracked the starting lineup. And he smacked three extra-base hits in three plate appearances -- two doubles and a run-scoring triple.

"It's been a lot of fun watching these guys," said Carp after the Sox held off the Cleveland Indians, 6-3. "I know I'll get my opportunity here and there, and you just have to be ready to go whenever you get it and try to stay sharp and prepare myself the best way I can. It worked out well tonight."

Asked to remember the longest time he's been out of the starting lineup before, Carp couldn't recall.

"I've gone a week before," he said, "but not 13 games, especially at the start of the year. But we brought these [other] guys in and their job is to play and that's going to happen the first couple of months of the year."

Until Wednesday, other than three pinch-hit appearances, Carp has had to find ways to stay ready. He's taken extra batting practice and jumped at the opportunity to face Felix Doubront in a simulated game late last week.

Then, Wednesday night, the at-bats were for real again.

"The eyes were tracking," said Carp of his preparation. "You go up there with good expectations and it worked out well tonight."

In the second, Carp stroked a double to left, though he was later stranded at third. Two innings later, he doubled to straightaway center, but again was left at third as the Sox failed to take advantage of chances to add on to a 3-0 lead.

Carp then tripled to center with Stephen Drew on first in the fifth, delivering a run.

"He's a good fastball hitter," manager John Farrell said of Carp, "and we talked about getting a number of lefty hitters in the lineup and he swung the bat very good. To get the base hit inside the third-base bag (on the second-inning double) to start things off. He just did a heck of a job for us."

Carp had had difficulty against Cleveland starter Justin Masterson in the past, with an 0-for-4 track record.

"He's pitched me tough," said Carp. "I faced him quite a few times, in the minor leagues (as well as the majors), and I had a rough day against him here two years ago. I just wanted a short approach and go the opposite field and he gave me a few pitches up in the zone that I was able to hammer."

When Carp was due to the plate in the seventh against lefty Rich Hill, Farrell elected to go with right-handed hitting Jonny Gomes.

Not even three hits in three tries were enough to buy Carp another plate appearance.

He remained philosophical.

"Summer time comes along and these guys start needing a break . . . " he said. "We'll get our at-bats. There's a 162 games. It's a long year and a lot of things can happen."