Though Herrera, acquired from the Rockies for lefty Franklin Morales, was perceived as the favorite all along, manager John Farrell had said recently that Holt was very much in the mix for the spot.
What led to Herrera winning the job?
"Prioritizing shortstop play," said Farrell. "While Brock has made strides on the left side of the infield, particularly from the start of last year, we felt with the acquisition of Jonathan it was more middle of the field experience, and that's the choice made."
Herrera could wind up being like former Red Sox utility player Alex Cora in that he is someone who does all the little things right.
"You get a two- to three-game glimpse across the field, and then when you're in camp with someone for a month and a half, you get more of a sense of their instincts and how they react and respond to game situations," said Farrell. "Just the energy he brings, it's a good fit."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.