John Farrell: Brock Holt will get plenty of at-bats

Brock Holt was an unlikely All-Star for the Red Sox in 2015. He'll have to fight to get a regular spot in Boston's lineup in 2016 - but don't call him a "backup" or "bench player." Jim Rogash/Getty Images

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Brock Holt, All-Star.

If you’re still having a difficult time wrapping your brain around that, don’t be ashamed. Holt understands.

“Obviously, it’s not something I expected to happen,” he said Thursday, seven months after making his first appearance in the Midsummer Classic. “But I felt deserving of it at the time. I had a blast in Cincinnati, and it’s something I will remember for a long time.

“I got to spend it with my family and wife and her family as well. It was a special time for us. And hopefully this year we can all as a group achieve the one goal that every player wants -- and that’s to get to the World Series and win our final game.”

How improbable was Holt's appearance in the All-Star Game last year? He was in his first full season in the big leagues after being considered a mere throw-in when the Boston Red Sox acquired All-Star closer Joel Hanrahan from the Pittsburgh Pirates in December 2012. Holt had a salary of $530,500. He was surrounded in the Boston clubhouse by several former All-Stars, and he became the first player to be named an All-Star after appearing at all four infield spots and all three outfield spots.

Now this 2015 All-Star will have to fight to get a regular spot in Boston's lineup in 2016.

“That’s the way I like it,” Holt said. “That’s how it’s been my whole career, pretty much. You don’t take anything for granted, and come here ready to work. I’m here to help the team in any way I can, and that’s to play in any position I’m needed and hit wherever I’m needed in the batting order. We’ve got a lot of talent in this locker room.”

Manager John Farrell, asked whether it would be a challenge to get Holt enough at-bats given that Hanley Ramirez has taken over as the regular first baseman and the Red Sox added outfielder Chris Young in the offseason, answered immediately and definitively in the negative.

“And I say no because of what Brock has meant not only to this team but his overall performance,” Farrell said. “I think what you’re seeing around the game is this type of player becoming that much more valuable. They’re not a backup or a bench player. He’s a regular utility guy who gets rotated in, and you see 350 to 400 at-bats.

“The game is valuing this type of player and the versatility he gives us. But he will get a huge number of at-bats from a high number of positions.”