Short at first base? Holt has some company

CLEVELAND -- With Mike Napoli due to come off the disabled list on Sunday in Detroit, Brock Holt’s days of playing first base are growing short. Tuesday night, Holt made his third start at first base, as Red Sox manager John Farrell decided Holt’s hot bat was worth having him make his pro debut at the position on the big-league level.

Now, Holt is listed at 5-foot-10 in the Red Sox media guide, which looks like it may be generous by an inch or two. But even if you accept that as gospel, he still ranks as smaller than your average first baseman.

According to Baseball-reference.com, since 2000, there have been only a dozen players 5-foot-10 or shorter who have played at least 20 games at first base. The last was Yuniesky Betancourt, a shortstop by trade who started 46 games at first for Milwaukee last season. You have to go back to 2008 and Ronnie Belliard, another former middle infielder who started 21 games at first for Washington, to find the next.

There is one very familiar name to Boston sports fans on the list: Lou Merloni, who made 38 starts at first base for the Cleveland Indians in 2004.