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Carp gets last-minute start on Opening Day

BALTIMORE -- Super sub Mike Carp didn't get his first start with the Red Sox last season until Game No. 14. A year later, he was a surprise starter on Opening Day.

With Shane Victorino placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right hamstring strain Monday, Carp got the nod over Jonny Gomes and No. 3 prospect Jackie Bradley Jr.

Carp was enjoying a steak with teammates Dustin Pedroia and Will Middlebrooks Sunday night when he got the text from manager John Farrell telling he would start Monday's game in left field. Nava moved from left to right.

"First off, I'm bummed for Shane," said Carp. "He's obviously one of my good friends. Starting Opening Day is a big honor. It can't get any better than that. It's an exciting time and I'm excited to get the season going and get our title defense on the way. First of 162 games here today."

Carp batted fifth in Boston's batting order.

"Another left-handed bat in the lineup, and Mike Carp has been swinging the bat very well coming out of camp, so those things and plus it gives us a right-hander on the bench in Jonny in a role that he's accustomed to," said Farrell. "But with Vic out of the lineup, we're going to see a little bit of a rotation with all five outfielders. That's currently where we are."

The Red Sox happen to be their deepest at the positions Carp can play -- first base, designated hitter and the corner-outfield spots. That left him with only 216 at-bats in 2013, despite a solid season that included an .886 OPS.

Ian Browne is a reporter for Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne.
Read More: Boston Red Sox, Mike Carp