BOSTON – David Ortiz, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Stephen Drew belted some of the big hits Tuesday night in the Red Sox 17-5 romp over the Texas Rangers.

But look at a few other contributing names:





The depth of this Boston team, and its American League-leading 36 wins, continues to amaze.

You have to wonder when some of these part-time players take over.

One player already has forced himself into the lineup — Daniel Nava appeared in his 52nd game on Tuesday.

Nava went 3 for 5 Tuesday and features a .905 OPS (combined on-base and slugging percentage).

Nava was getting the starts over left fielder Jonny Gomes against right-handers. Now he is filling in for right fielder Shane Victorino, while also taking Jacoby Ellsbury’s lead-off spot.

Victorino is out with a hamstring injury. Ellsbury is nursing a sore groin muscle. Third-baseman Will Middlebrooks (sore back) is also out, but expected to return soon.

Middlebrooks’ return will focus the spotlight on Jose Iglesias.

The Red Sox have to keep Iglesias in the majors, right?

He doubled and singled and is batting .421.

A wonderful shortstop, Iglesias has seamlessly moved to third in Middlebrooks’ absence — forcing Manager John Farrell to think things over.

“With very limited action at third base, he’s played it flawlessly,” Farrell said. “As far as roster moves (involving Iglesias), we’re open-minded to keep him in that utility role.”

Iglesias played second base at the end of Tuesday’s game, fueling the speculation of his new utility job.

Keeping Iglesias as the utility player would likely spell the end for backup Pedro Ciriaco (batting .239). Iglesias is hitting better and his fielding is unequaled.

Iglesias could platoon (at least sometimes) with Drew.

Drew enjoyed rare success against left-handed relievers on Tuesday (3 for 3 with a double and a home run), but his season batting average against lefties is still only .192.

Iglesias is batting .542 against lefties (13 for 24).

Iglesias is ready for the majors. He experienced a little humility in his last stay in Triple-A when he was benched for a lack of effort (Pawtucket Manager Gary DiSarcina, perhaps bitten by Bruins fever, called it a stay in the “penalty box”). That seemed to wake up Iglesias.

“It was clear that deep down he saw himself as a major league player,” Farrell said.

“I think the one thing clear in Jose’s case is that he is not fazed or intimidated by the environment here. That goes back to the belief in his own abilities.”

One aside in the Iglesias matter: If he sticks in Boston, the Red Sox might be inclined to move another prospect to Pawtucket. Portland has a shortstop named Xander Bogaerts.

Jackie Bradley Jr. hit his first career home run in the second inning, crushing a change-up beyond the bullpens in right field. He ended the night with three RBI.

Bradley is not ready for full-time duty yet, but he could be close, at least by next year. Ellsbury is in his free agent season. It is expected Ellsbury will seek big bucks, but any team would be gambling to sign him.

Since 2009, Ellsbury has played in 294 games (out of a possible 545).

Carp is not going to become a regular — although the way this season is going, we should hedge that with a “probably” not going to become a regular. Carp is valuable — including his 3-for-4 effort Tuesday night, with a home run and three RBI. He is batting .301, while being able to play first base and the corner outfield spots.

With three regulars out of the lineup, Boston blasted by the Rangers, a team that swept the Red Sox last month.

“They kind of did what they wanted to in those three games in Arlington,” Farrell said. “This is a very good team. There is a reason why they’ve been in first place all year.”

And there is a reason why Boston leads the AL East.


Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at:

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