Chris Carter hit .300 and slugged .515 with 24 home runs and 81 RBI for Triple-A Pawtucket last season and went 6-for-18 with five runs and three RBI in a cup of coffee with the Red Sox a year ago. (He was 2-for-3 with two runs scored in a one-game callup in June; he hit .267 in eight games in September.)
He's in a fight this spring to win the Mark Kotsay spot on the roster, a spot as a backup first baseman, left fielder and right fielder until Kotsay returns from back surgery. He helped his cause with a solo home run and a walk against the Reds today; he's now hitting .417 on the spring.
How'd that home run feel?
"It felt amazing. We were coming back and it was a good rally and I was glad to be a part of it. (Paul McAnulty) hit that bomb, got me pumped up. I think he was going fastball in. I was thinking something away, probably, because he just came with two changeups, so I was thinking something hard away. I don't know. I got it."
How are you feeling about that competition for that Kotsay spot, that last spot on the roster?
"Well, as far as Kotsay, he's one of the best teammates I've ever been with, one of the best guys, one of the best people. I know the Red Sox will be looking forward to his return. Right now, I'm just going out there and doing the best I can. I definitely want to be part of this team. I want to be with this team. I'm putting everything out there, and I believe in me. This is where I want to be. I want it to work out."
What have they told you about what they're looking for in that guy that gets that 25th spot? Have they talked to you about what you can do to show them you're that guy?
"They're looking for a guy like Kotsay, a guy who can play first base and can play the corner outfielders. ... What I'm working on is first base and corner outfield and then my hitting, just like I always hit. I've been switching off every day -- first base one day, outfield the next, and then first base. That's what I expect to continue."
How much more comfortable do you feel at first base?
"I feel more comfortable overall, anywhere. Being around Pedroia and Youk and having those guys really coach me and talk to me about the game, the mental side of the game, that's really helped me. I feel more comfortable everywhere. I'm starting to get more of a baseball mind and starting to understand the game and that I can actually control my performance more than I thought I did. That's really helped."