BOS@MIN: Carp smacks an RBI double to right field

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.

Breslow plans on returning to active roster soon

WS2013 Gm6: Breslow on winning World Series in Boston

BALTIMORE -- For the second straight season, Craig Breslow spent Opening Day on the disabled list. However, the invaluable lefty feels he will return much sooner than 2013, when he didn't pitch until May 6.

"I think these are totally different circumstances this year," said Breslow. "I feel strong, I feel healthy, I've thrown throughout Spring Training. Last year, I was shut down for a period of probably four to five weeks and needed to get ready for a season in three weeks.

"Whereas this was just, we kind of listened to my body, any findings in the training room or anything in terms of when it was time to progress to the next step in a throwing program. In the conversations I've had with [general manager] Ben [Cherington] and [manager] John [Farrell], I wanted to make it clear I'm not injured. I just ran out of games."

The Red Sox list the cause for Breslow's DL stint as a left shoulder strain.

On Sunday, he stayed back in Fort Myers, Fla., and pitched in an intrasquad game before joining his teammates in Baltimore.

"I went up against [Clay Buchholz] actually. I outdueled him for two innings," quipped Breslow.

Breslow will pitch in a Minor League rehab game at Triple-A Pawtucket on Thursday. Though the competitor in him would have liked to start the season on time, Breslow realizes why the decision was made to put him on the DL.

"I was brainwashed a little bit by John and Ben into believing that we're looking at the big picture, but once you can remove yourself, it certainly makes sense," Breslow said. "To arbitrarily be ready for March 31 when we're talking about the alternative being maybe April 5 or 6, and being able to move forward a little more prudently, it obviously makes sense. It's just hard to get your hands around when you're the person on the inside that's not going to be ready for Opening Day."