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Holt fitting in nicely in utility role with Sox

HOUSTON -- Coming to Houston wasn't exactly a homecoming for Red Sox infielder Brock Holt, but it was close enough.

Holt played one year at Rice before being drafted by Pittsburgh in the ninth round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft. Boston acquired him in December as part of the Joel Hanrahan trade.

Holt grew up in Stephenville, Texas, and played two years at Navarro College before transferring to Rice.

"I wanted someplace close to home and I wanted a chance to get to Omaha [for the College World Series]," Holt said of choosing Rice.

Rice, which won it all in 2003, nearly made it back to the College World Series in 2009, losing to LSU in the Super Regionals at Baton Rouge. LSU went on to win the College World Series that year.

Holt decided it was time to move on.

"I didn't really have any idea where I'd be drafted," he said. "I expected to go maybe a little higher. I was ready to try professional baseball. Being in the top 10 rounds is still pretty good. I've had to prove myself every step of the way. I was fortunate, because [Pittsburgh] was a good organization to come up in."

Holt hit .292 in 24 games with the Pirates last September after batting .432 in 24 games for Triple-A Indianapolis.

The trade to the Red Sox surprised him.

"I was a little shocked at first, because I didn't know what to expect," Holt said. "I didn't know my name was being talked about being traded. I heard the Red Sox organization wanted me as part of the deal. It's not that the Pirates didn't want [me]. The Red Sox wanted me. That made me feel good, to come over here and playing with an organization like that. I was pumped."

Holt made his 14th start of the season Tuesday night at third base. The Red Sox have had six players start at third base this season, with Will Middlebrooks making the most starts with 52.

Holt could be playing more if he wasn't with a first place team, but he is happy to be where he is.

"You can think different things, but I'm just happy to be here and be part of this experience, be around such a great group of guys," he said.

Holt said the No. 1 thing he learned this season is versatility.

"Coming in, I played basically middle infield," he said. "In Spring Training, I started working at third base. Also, being able to work with [Dustin] Pedroia at second base, he's one of the best to ever play that position. I've learned more about playing second base, too. Playing different positions will help me in the future."

Gene Duffey is a contributor to
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