ANAHEIM, Calif. -- A night after one of the biggest defensive blunders of the season cost the Boston Red Sox a win against the Los Angeles Angels, another young third baseman stepped up Sunday with two excellent plays.
In just his second game with the Red Sox since he was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket, Brock Holt made a pair of spectacular backhand stabs on sharp grounders seemingly destined for the left-field corner. He also walked and recorded his first hit with the club.
Unfortunately, he was one of the few Boston players to produce highlights in the 3-0 loss at Angel Stadium.
His best play came with one out in the third, when he was playing in on the grass and still managed to snare Erick Aybar’s hard-hit ball to his right. Aybar likely would have reached second if the ball got down the line and might have scored on J.B. Shuck’s ground-ball single to right that followed.
“Got the first-game jitters out of the way yesterday,” he said. “I felt a lot better over there, especially after I made that first play.”
Two innings later, Holt reached across his body to spear another tough grounder by Aybar, this time while playing behind of the bag. Once again, Holt set his feet and made a perfect throw across the diamond to end the inning.
“He made a couple of very good reaction plays to his backhand,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “He’s athletic, he’s got versatility on the infield and he has fit in well in a short period of time.”
Those compliments could go a long way toward earning a long-term spot on the major league roster. Brandon Snyder, who replaced Holt in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game, made a throwing error on a force play at second that would have ended the game with a Red Sox victory. Instead, the tying run came home on the play and the Angels eventually won 9-7 in 11 innings.
Holt, who was called up from Pawtucket on Saturday so the Red Sox could have another left-handed hitter on the infield during a stretch in which they’re facing six straight right-handed starters, developed as a middle infielder. He didn’t take his first ground balls at third base until spring training.
Holt still calls himself a “work in progress” at third base, but if Sunday’s performance is any indication, he’s a quick learner.