Holt, activated, talked to Dale Earnhardt Jr. about long road to recovery

Holt, activated, talked to Dale Earnhardt Jr. about long road to recovery

BOSTON — At least for a day, Brock Holt is back on the big league roster. His road has been long, but more than that, scary.

The Red Sox infielder was activated from the 60-day disabled list as the team’s 26th man for Sunday’s doubleheader vs. the Yankees, after he landed on the disabled list April 21 with vertigo. It took 24 rehab games, with stops and starts in between, before he could come back as he’s dealt with issues of disorientation — which aren't new to him in recent years.

“Earlier, doubts start to creep into your mind,” Holt said. “That first time I tried to rehab, I think I played two weeks worth of games and never felt good in any of them. You start thinking. When you’re down there trying to compete and play and you’re not able to do it, I think there were times when I wondered if I would ever get back to normal or if that was my new normal. 

“But, I would say I had to get talked off the ledge a couple of times from [concussion expert Micky Collins] in Pittsburgh and my wife. They set me back on the straightened path, but it was hard, man. Emotionally, physically, something that obviously I would have rather not had to go through. But, like I said, it’s going to make me stronger and I’m glad to be back.”

Holt spoke to former Red Sox catcher David Ross about the concussions he dealt with in his career.

“I talked to him over the phone a couple of times, and then I saw him in Houston when we went to Houston and talked to him in person,” Holt said. “I talked to Brian Roberts with the Orioles who worked with Micky Collins, and I actually had a conversation with Dale Earnhardt Jr. as well, who kind of went through similar stuff as me. I think his was a little more intense. 

“But it was nice talking to those guys, knowing that they got better, and that was big for me: being able to talk to guys who have been through it. You can talk to your training staff, your teammates, my family even, and you can explain how you feel, but no one really knows. …  They’re living normal lives now.”

Holt’s roster move was one of three for the Red Sox on Sunday after a 16-inning loss to the Yankees on Saturday night. (This is a day after Joe Kelly went on the DL with a left hamstring strain and Brandon Workman was recalled, mind you.)

The other moves Sunday:

  • Righty Blaine Boyer went to the 10-day DL with a right elbow strain.
  • Righty Austin Maddox came up from Triple-A Pawtucket.

Sale on the latest JBJ spectacular catch: 'What's wrong with that guy?'

Sale on the latest JBJ spectacular catch: 'What's wrong with that guy?'

The catches are becoming routine but that doesn't make them any less spectacular.

"'What's wrong with that guy?'" is what Chris Sale asked third baseman Brock Holt after they watched Jackie Bradley Jr. turn what surely looked like an extra base hit off the bat by the Angels' Yunel Escobar into another highlight-reel grab in the first inning of the Red Sox' 6-2 victory over the Angels in Anaheim on Friday night. 

"I literally, I looked at Brock and said, 'What's wrong with that guy?'" Sale told reporters, including MassLive.com's Jen McCaffrey. "It just seems like once he makes a great catch, it's like, all right, that's the best one. And then he makes another one, and ok, that's the best one now. It just seems like he's always raising the bar. It's fun to watch."

Less than a week after robbing the Yankees' Aaron Judge of a home run with his catch in the triangle at Fenway (below), Bradley explained yet another spectacular catch, this time to NESN's Jahmai Webster.  

“Off the bat, it was well hit,” Bradley Jr. told Webster “Head[ed] towards the gap, I believe he had two strikes on him, so I was playing him toward the opposite field a little bit. I took off, tried to gauge as much as I possibly can, tried to time up my steps to try to make a leap...I wanted to go for it.”

"That's a big-time play by a big-time player," Sale said. 

"I don't know if you expect it, but I guess we're starting to, especially with what they're doing out there," Sale said. "Those guys, all four [outfielder, Bradley, Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi and Chris Young], they work as hard as anybody, and they cover a lot of ground. I've said it before, it feels like we have four outfielders out there sometimes playing in the same game. It definitely doesn't go unnoticed by us as pitchers, and I think our whole team appreciates the effort all the way around."

On Twitter, JBJ's play drew an "Angels In The Outfield" comparison from fellow center fielder Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles.