Farrell explains Victorino's drop in order

BOSTON -- Shane Victorino's drop in the order is not a product of his 0-for-10 showing thus far, or of his recent health issues, according to manager John Farrell. The skipper said his right fielder, who is hitting sixth after sitting two games with a back strain, has no physical restrictions.

Reading between the lines, however, suggests that Farrell does not want to mess all that much with the top of the order, namely David Ortiz, who continued his hot streak with a 3-for-4 showing in the 3-hole in Game 5.

“Wanted to keep the top of the order consistent,” Farrell said. “[Victorino’s] healthy, no restrictions, glad he’s back in right field for us. ... This isn’t a volume thing or anything. This is more, trying to lengthen it out behind David. This is somewhat reflective of that.”

Victorino started in the No. 7 spot twice in April, but has hit second or first in every start since. He started several games batting fifth and sixth earlier in his career.

The drop of Victorino allows Mike Napoli to bat cleanup for the first time this postseason. Napoli sat during the three games in St. Louis, getting just one at-bat off the bench. Farrell does not anticipate any rust for his slugging first baseman, even though Napoli seems to get into grooves through repetition.

“My thought is that rhythm will be overridden by adrenaline,” he said.