Red Sox pregame notes: A new look for the lineup, Grady Sizemore's center field defense, Stephen Drew in the house

May 21, 2014 - 3:58 pm
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The Red Sox lineup has a different look to it after scoring just 10 runs over their last five games, all of which they'€™ve lost. With right-hander Drew Hutchison on the mound for the Blue Jays, manager John Farrell moved Grady Sizemore to the leadoff spot while shifting Shane Victorino down to sixth in the order. Dustin Pedroia had been the leadoff man for 22 straight games up to this point. The change might not be permanent, but Sizemore could see more time towards the top of the order when a righty is on the mound. "€œGiven our performance against right-handed starters, we may look to have another lefty in the top part of the order,"€ Farrell said. "œWe can'€™t stack the lineup with lefties with Jonny [Gomes] in the lineup, so we'€™re alternating left and right throughout."€ Victorino has been struggling against right-handers now that he'€™s abandoned switch-hitting, batting just .232 with a .279 OBP and .339 slugging mark against righties in 61 plate appearances. "œWe had a chance to talk with [Victorino] yesterday and against right-handers, it hasn'€™t been his strong side when compared to facing left-handed starters and we talked about moving him down in the order a little bit,"€ Farrell said. "€œHe'€™s expanded on some breaking balls off the plate away, and he'€™s acknowledged that, and there'€™s been a pretty clear attack plan against him that emerged, and the numbers bear out." With his recent struggles against same-handed pitching, going back to switch-hitting could be an option for Victorino sometime in the future, but there are no developments on that front according to Farrell. "I'€™d like for [Victorino] to be the most productive player he can be, and if he feels comfortable from the right side exclusively, I can'€™t say without him hitting left-handed since August of last year, there'€™d be some repetition required in batting practice and beyond," Farrell said. "I wouldn't rule it out at this point, but for now he'€™ll stay as he is." OTHER RED SOX NOTES --€” Mike Napoli is out of the lineup to start the night because of flu-like symptoms, Farrell said. Mike Carp will get the start at first base, batting seventh. -- Sizemore will also get the start in center field for just the second time in the last 11 games. Jackie Bradley Jr. has been the more solid defensive option in center, but Farrell says that Sizemore has been capable at the position. "€œI think [his defense has] been fairly consistent," Farrell said. "€œI can'€™t say there'€™s been a huge step forward as he'€™s gotten a number of games under his belt in terms of range. But it'€™s acceptable." --€” With the arrival of Stephen Drew, Xander Bogaerts will be shifted to third base, and the 21-year-old made it clear that he still views himself as a shortstop down the road. Mindful of Bogaerts' disappointment with moving off the position, Farrell met with the 21-year-old for a second straight day to discuss why Drew was signed. "€œThere was a follow up conversation with [Bogaerts] today, just to talk further about the change of position and the addition of Stephen, the opportunity to reiterate that we do see him as a shortstop long-term and he views himself in the same light," Farrell said. "€œHis comments last night reflected that, and I can respect how he feels about himself and views himself, but this is an opportunity to improve this team. We didn'€™t have the opportunity to go out and sign a third baseman. Stephen was available and that'€™s why he'€™s here." -- Drew is at Fenway for Wednesday night'€™s game, and is on the active roster despite the fact that he won'€™t be game-ready for a couple of weeks. However, Farrell said that since he'€™s active, if there were an emergency, Drew could be used. Drew needs to clear optional waivers before he can start a minor league assignment, something that requires 48 hours from the time that his deal became official.

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