Defensive versatility nets Carp backup job

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- When the Red Sox acquired Mike Carp from the Mariners early in Spring Training, Seattle got a player to be named or cash considerations -- and Carp received no guarantees. At that time, he was another guy in the mix to give Boston some depth at first base behind Mike Napoli.

That all changed Friday morning, when he was summoned into manager John Farrell's office at JetBlue Park and told that he will be with the team when the regular season opens Monday at Yankee Stadium.

"They just told me I'm on and what my role would be -- left field, first base, back up all of them. Get ready for the year. It's going to be a fun year," Carp said. "I knew something was going to happen regardless after all the [moves], knowing there are only a couple cuts left. Either way I figured I'd find out. It's definitely better this way."

Said Farrell: "The ability to go to first base weighed heavily in this, and you could say it was a deciding factor, the defensive versatility. That's not to take anything away from Ryan Sweeney. He's a very good player, can play all three outfield positions. We felt like that flexibility to go to first base was key in this."

Farrell was asked why Sweeney wasn't given a chance to compete for a spot at first.

"It was talked about initially, but in fairness to him, he's always been an outfielder," said Farrell. "We didn't feel like where with the other guys have had first base play in their past, that's where we focused on."

Carp is hitting just .182 in 23 Grapefruit League games with a .234 on base percentage and a .310 slugging percentage.

"It's definitely a work in progress," said Carp. "It always is. In baseball, you're always constantly making adjustments. Right now, it doesn't look like I'm having the best [spring], but I feel great up there. I feel comfortable, I feel like I'm right where I want to be, and I'm excited for the season to start."

"It's a better opportunity than I would have had in Seattle, to be on the Opening Day roster. This is only my second one. To be a part of this, I'm excited."

Carp wasn't the only Red Sox player to learn his fate Friday, as Farrell said reliever Clayton Mortensen will be on the Opening Day roster.

"Right now, he's on our team. He's in our bullpen," said Farrell.

Paul Hagen is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.