Saturday, April 19, 2014
Pregame notes: Outfield shuffle continues
By Scott Barboza
BOSTON -- While Daniel Nava’s prolonged slump to start the season continues, the Red Sox switch-hitter will not start Saturday’s matinee against the Baltimore Orioles as Red Sox manager John Farrell decided to give a look at Grady Sizemore patrolling the green near Pesky’s pole.
Farrell said there were several factors in assembling the ninth different outfield permutation seen this season, heading into game No. 18. Along with Nava’s sagging .143 average entering Saturday’s action, Farrell tries to ride a hot hand in Mike Carp, who’s 3-for-5 in his last two games and who had two RBIs in Friday night’s 8-4 loss. In center, Jackie Bradley Jr. will make his fourth straight start.
As Farrell searches for the winning combination in the outfield, he saw a glimmer of Nava’s old self when the outfielder belted a fifth-inning double Friday night.
“[That] was more his typical stroke,” Farrell said. “I think there’s been times when he’s pressed some. We’ve got to find a way to get him jump-started. He’s a big part of our offense, particularly left-handed.”
Meanwhile, Sizemore will make his first start in right, following a night off.
“I wouldn’t say it’s about taking different looks at him,” Farrell said of Sizemore. “Again, Mike Carp is swinging the bat well, Jackie has solidified defense in center field for us. With Grady, it’s a matter of pushing him over and using his range a little bit more than Mike Carp’s would be in right field.”
That right field spot could soon be occupied by its intended starter, Shane Victorino, who started the season on the disable list due to a hamstring injury. He will make a rehab start in right with three scheduled at-bats for Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday. Farrell said Victorino will also make starts with the PawSox on Monday and Tuesday before being reevaluated.
Victorino's return could shuffle Farrell’s outfield deck once again.
No matter what happens, the Red Sox would be benefitted by a return to form from Nava.
“He’s probably not as confident as we’ve seen him in the past,” Farrell said. “There’s a tendency, particularly from the left side of the plate, he’s lifted some pitches where typically in the past he’s had a good line-drive stroke.”
Making the turn: While shortstop Xander Bogaerts was given his first day of rest on the year, after making 17 straight starts to begin the season, Jonathan Herrera was given the start at short, batting eighth.
“After a couple of long ballgames, late travel, I felt like today was the first day down for him,” Farrell said. “He’s played every game. [It’s a] chance to get another left-handed bat in the lineup as well.”
Brock Holt will make his second straight start at third base, following his recall from Pawtucket before Friday night’s game.
Meanwhile, Farrell said Saturday was a “big day” in Will Middlebrooks’ rehab of a calf injury, which forced him to the disabled list on April 6.
“If he comes in today in good shape, then we’ll be looking at something Monday, Tuesday, possibly to get him out.”
Here's Saturday's Red Sox lineup:
1. Grady Sizemore, RF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. David Ortiz, DH
4. Mike Napoli, 1B
5. Mike Carp, LF
6. David Ross, C
7. Brock Holt, 3B
8. Jonathan Herrera, SS
9. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Felix Doubront, LHP