CINCINNATI (AP) — Brock Holt brought his infield glove to the All-Star Game. And his outfield glove.
If he winds up playing first base, he’ll borrow a mitt.
Of the 1,457 players who have appeared in All-Star Games, none have started at seven different positions before the break. He could be the first.
“I think people are starting to realize that having guys that can move around and play different positions and give your starters day off and keep them healthy is big,” the lone All-Star from the Boston Red Sox said Monday.
Holt has started three games at first, 18 at second, six at shortstop and 12 at third. He’s begun six in left, two in center and 16 in right.
At the plate, the 27-year-old has put together a .292 batting average with two homers and 22 RBIs, and on June 16 against Atlanta he became the first Boston player to hit for the cycle since John Valentin in 1996. The last-place Red Sox are 33-31 when he starts and 9-16 when he starts on the bench, and he entered the All-Star break with an 11-game hitting streak.
“I just think the All-Star Game is a place to celebrate successes, but there’s no category for super utility,” said AL manager Ned Yost of the Kansas City Royals. “I think he is probably the finest super utility player in the American League.”
Holt spent two years at Navarro College in Texas, then transferred to Rice and helped the Owls reach the 2009 NCAA tournament, where they lost to LSU in a super regional. Taken by Pittsburgh in the ninth round of the 2009 amateur draft with the 265th pick, Holt made it up to the Pirates in September 2012, had two hits in his first big league start and two nights later put together a four-hit game.
He was looking forward to reporting to spring training with the Pirates and many of the players he became friends with in the minors. Holt never got to the camp in Bradenton, Florida.
“I got called the day after Christmas by Neal Huntington,” Holt said, referring to the Pirates general manager, “and he said, ‘Hey, we traded you to the Red Sox. So it was kind of surprise, a shock at first.”
Boston acquired closer Joel Hanrahan and Holt from the Pirates for right-handers Mark Melancon and Stolmy Pimentel, infielder Ivan DeJesus Jr. and first baseman-outfielder Jerry Sands.
Hanrahan didn’t work out, lasting just nine games before needing elbow surgery, but Holt became an All-Star.
After appearing in 24 games with Pittsburgh in 2012 and 26 with the Red Sox the following season, Holt was still a rookie when Boston brought him up on May 17 last year. He stayed in the lineup for a streak of 59 consecutive games and 533 innings until July 23, and had four doubles one night against Tampa Bay. Holt had never played the outfield or first base in the minor leagues.
As Boston skidded to a last-place finish, Red Sox manager John Farrell called him “something of a silver lining in our season.”
Popping up all over the field, Holt has earned the attention of division rivals.
“You give a guy like Brock a lot of respect, and he’s important for an All-Star Game like this,” said the New York Yankees’ Mark Teixeira, who hasn’t played the field other than at first for the past decade. “You never want an injury or something to happen in an All-Star Game, but if something does happen, a guy like Brock can go in and fit multiple positions and really give the manager some flexibility. Those guys are very important to a team.”
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