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Saturday, May 25, 2013
SS Drew gets day off; C Ross starts

By Tony Lee, Special to ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew is getting a regular day off Saturday, although manager John Farrell indicated that Drew is still sore from a back issue that caused him to miss two games on the recent road trip. Drew got up slowly after a diving stop Friday night but Farrell said there was no major cause for concern.

"He's felt some soreness from [the back injury] but it hasn't been to the point of keeping him out of the lineup once he returned," he said. "Just managing it like everyone else manages what they've been banged up with."

Drew is hitless in 17 at-bats since his return. Has the back strain been an issue?

"I can't say it hasn't," Farrell said. "Whether it's the aggressiveness in which he's swinging the bat. Just in talking with Stephen I can't say it's restricted his swing. All things considered it's a natural down day for him."

The shuffle means that Jose Iglesias will fill in for Drew and move back to his natural position after making his debut at third base Friday. Pedro Ciriaco will make his fourth start of the season at third.

With Drew getting some rest, the topic turned to Dustin Pedroia, who is the only Red Sox player to appear in all 49 games. Expect that to continue for some time.

"I'll probably look [for a time to give him a day off] and he'll probably continue to be in the lineup," Farrell said. "As we know he's not a guy that's looking to come out of the lineup, and whether it's 162, there may be a time along the way where we give him a break, but right now he's still going strong."

Pedroia had two more hits and two RBIs on Friday, lifting his average to .333, seventh in the American League entering Saturday. Even if Farrell was desperate to give Pedroia a break, Saturday would not be a good time for it. Pedroia is 17-for-33 (.515) with eight walks against Indians starter Scott Kazmir, good for a stratospheric 1.398 OPS.

Farrell cited Pedroia's increased willingness to take the ball the other way this year as one cause for his solid start. Pitchers have learned to avoid the inner half of the plate, which Pedroia owns. He also sees a healthier Pedroia than the one who missed significant time in 2010 and nursed plenty of injuries in 2012.

"He was banged up quite a bit last year. He even got banged up Opening Day this year," Farrell said. "But there's no way to measure the will in someone. Whenever he's nicked up he's going to find a way to beat someone."

Sox catcher David Ross, who was activated from the concussion disabled list Friday, gets his first start since May 11.