Farrell sticks with Gomes as leadoff vs. LHP

April, 11, 2014
Apr 11
6:42
PM ET
NEW YORK -- A few quick hits from the Bronx, where Shane Victorino was running what looked like "out" patterns on the outfield grass before the game, an indication that his recovery from a strained right hamstring is making progress.

• Manager John Farrell said that when the team travels to Chicago next week, the Sox should have a better idea of the next step for both Victorino and Will Middlebrooks (right calf), who are on the disabled list. Farrell has said that Victorino will be sent out on a rehab assignment; at the moment, he said, the right fielder is a bit ahead of Middlebrooks in his recovery.

Victorino is eligible to come off the DL on Tuesday. Middlebrooks is eligible to come off the DL on April 20, when the Sox are home to play Baltimore.

Jonny Gomes was back at the top of the order Friday night against a left-hander, CC Sabathia of the Yankees. Gomes, who is batting .174, will be making his fourth start in the leadoff spot, one fewer than Daniel Nava. Grady Sizemore has batted leadoff twice, including Thursday night, when he went 0 for 4.

Asked if he'd given any consideration to changing things at the top, Farrell said:

"We want to be careful that we don't make too many changes. The focus is on those three guys. I still like where we are 2 through 5, 2 through 6 with Xander [Bogaerts]. That's where we are, for the time being."

Jon Lester did not allow a home run to the Yankees in four starts last season, the only AL East team that did not take him deep last season. He went 1-1 with a 4.19 ERA in three starts last season in Yankee Stadium.

Xander Bogaerts's 11 hits through the first 10 games are the most by a Sox player 21 years or younger since Tony Conigliaro had 15 hits through the first 10 games of the '65 season, his second with the Sox.

• Grady Sizemore, who went 0 for 4 while batting leadoff Thursday against the Yankees, did not fare well against the Bombers in his years with the Cleveland Indians. Sizemore is batting .216 (33 for 153) against the Yanks, with four home runs and 12 RBIs. AL East teams across the board gave him trouble: He hit .218 against the Red Sox, .226 against the Orioles, .231 against the Rays, and .232 against the Blue Jays.

• Farrell said he was shown a still photo after the fourth inning of pitcher Michael Pineda's pitching hand, which showed a substance on the palm.

"When he came out to warm up in the fifth inning, it was very clear from the dugout that the hand was clean," Farrell said. That's why he did not bring it to the attention of the umpiring crew.

Farrell reiterated that it's not uncommon for a pitcher to use some form of additive to improve his grip on a cool night. Asked if he'd ever used anything when he pitched, Farrell said, deadpan: "Never."

"You'd like to think he'd be more discreet," Farrell said of Pineda, who won his first game as a Yankee Thursday night after missing all of 2012 with a torn labrum in his pitching shoulder.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman said he spoke Friday with Joe Torre, MLB's executive director of baseball operations, and that the matter was "resolved." Cashman said he did not intend to speak with Pineda about it.

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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