With young son watching, Spring plays hero for Red Sox

30-year-old career Minor Leaguer goes 3-for-3 with a homer vs. Mets

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Matt Spring isn't a hyped prospect. He's a 30-year-old catcher who has played 11 Minor League seasons without a callup, and as a non-roster invitee to Red Sox camp, he wears No. 81 on his back.

On Monday, none of that mattered, as Spring played the role of hero in Boston's 4-3 comeback win over the Mets at JetBlue Park.

When Spring entered in the top of the sixth inning to catch knuckleballer Steven Wright, it was only his third Grapefruit League appearance of the year, and he carried an 0-for-2 line with two strikeouts. But Wright homered in his first at-bat and doubled in his last two, authoring a performance to remember.

"Any time you can have a day like that, whether it's in Spring Training or whenever, it's a good day to put back in the memory bank for when you're not feeling good about yourself, to pump yourself back up a little bit," said Spring, who was thrilled that his two-year-old son, Bo, was watching the game at home.

Spring has traveled a long road since the Rays -- then the Devil Rays -- took him in the fourth round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft out of Dixie State College of Utah. He moved on to the Red Sox organization in 2011, but has spent most of his time in Double-A, reaching Triple-A for a total of 17 games over the past three seasons.

Then in his first at-bat on Monday, he found himself facing Mets righty Noah Syndergaard, MLB.com's No. 11 overall prospect. Spring had seen him in the Minors and knew what Syndergaard likes to do, so he looked for a fastball early in the count, got one and slammed it to left field, over JetBlue Park's towering Green Monster. That was the start of a 3-for-3 afternoon.

"A guy comes into camp, and he's got No. 81 hanging in his locker," Boston manager John Farrell said. "He knows his place in the organization, and that's not to take anything away from how hard he works. But today is a day he'll certainly remember, and rightfully so."

Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.