Alex Cora explains strange lineup, which has Christian Vazquez at 2B

Ryan Hannable
April 15, 2019 - 10:17 am

Monday is a whacky day at Fenway Park with the 11 a.m. start for the annual Marathon Monday game and also because of the Red Sox lineup.

A change has Christian Vazquez playing second base and Steve Pearce playing left field.

Dustin Pedroia originally was at second base, but the change now has him as the designated hitter. After fouling a pitch off his foot Sunday, Andrew Benintendi is out of the lineup and Jackie Bradley Jr. is still battling the flu, which has Mookie Betts in center and J.D. Martinez in right.

“I had plenty of fun," manager Alex Cora said of making out the lineup. "These are the days that you really enjoy being a manager. It’s a challenge and, hey, we’re ready to play. Hector is throwing the ball well. We swung the bats well yesterday and we’ll be fine.”

He added: “Where we at roster wise, and Christian has been taking groundballs at second and at short and at third. He’s caught three in a row or four in a row, or whatever it is. We’re comfortable with him as far as making the routine play. He can turn the double play. He played first base in the World Series. That’s the biggest stage in this sport. And the first play he made was a step back with the game on the line, a flip to first. He wants to do it, he likes to do it, and we’re going with him.”

Cora said the decision to move Pedroia to the DH spot was based on several factors.

"I mean we have a program, we have to be disciplined," he said. "We were pushing him to play second but it doesn’t make sense. Something happens today with him and then it’s on us. So the only thing we can do is DH him and keep him off his feet as much as possible and push him so far. It’s a tough start. It’s tough conditions." 

Eduardo Nunez would have been the logical choice to play second base, but Cora said he wants to stay away from him, which in this case likely means he's battling an injury or is sick. Brock Holt also would have played into the equation, but he's on the injured list.

There might even be more changes to the lineup within the game.

"Don’t be surprised if we’re moving people around the whole game like we did in the World Series from spot to spot," Cora said. "Should be a fun one. Looking forward to it, honestly."

Related: Red Sox lineup: Changes have Christian Vazquez playing second base