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Sunday, July 20, 2014
Farrell shuffles lineup to face Ventura

By Kyle Brasseur

BOSTON -- With Sunday’s series finale against the Kansas City being a day game after a night game and flame-throwing rookie right-hander Yordano Ventura on the mound for the Royals, Red Sox manager John Farrell shuffled his lineup a bit more than usual as his team will look to complete the series sweep.

Xander Bogaerts and Mike Napoli are both out of the lineup with days off as Mike Carp -- “the left-handed version of Jonny Gomes,” according to Farrell -- will start at first and Brock Holt will move to third. In addition, Daniel Nava will be batting second and playing left while Shane Victorino again will be in the lineup, batting sixth and manning right field.

“I think guys appreciate not [being surprised],” Farrell said about managing off days. “And we do the best that we can, given that there may be a day when a guy comes in and he would benefit from a day down.”

Farrell hinted that an off day could soon be in the cards for Victorino, as the outfielder, who made his return to the team Saturday night, will be playing in his fourth straight game on Sunday when you consider his time with Pawtucket. Farrell said Victorino is currently on a “four out of five” schedule, meaning he is likely to see time off at the start of the team’s next series against Toronto.

“We’ll schedule it,” Farrell said. “We’ve got to keep in mind that we’re going to go in a week straight of games played on AstroTurf, so that’s going to have a different effect I would think physically on him. We’ll monitor that day to day.”

Despite often voicing his displeasure with such, second baseman Dustin Pedroia also could see an off day at some point over the next few weeks. So far this season, Pedroia has played in 95 of the team’s 96 games, tops on the team. Farrell said in the event of a Pedroia off day, Holt will slide over to second base as he continues to move the versatile rookie around to get his bat in the lineup.

“We’re probably at the point in the year where it’s less of a concern than it might have been when he was playing right field for the first time or left field for the first time or first base for the first time,” Farrell said. “The way he’s handled each position defensively, now we’re finding ways to keep his bat in the lineup and not reluctant to change the position by the day.”

Holt has put together a .326/.364/.461 slash line in 52 games batting leadoff this season. Meanwhile, top prospect Mookie Betts will man the leadoff spot and play center field in his return to Triple-A Pawtucket Sunday afternoon. Betts was optioned on Saturday to make room for Victorino on the roster.

Will Middlebrooks also will be playing for Pawtucket again, batting third and serving as designated hitter. The rehabbing third baseman went 2-for-4 with a solo home run Saturday night.

Here’s how the full Red Sox lineup comes together behind Jon Lester:
1. Brock Holt, 3B
2. Daniel Nava, LF
3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
4. David Ortiz, DH
5. Mike Carp, 1B
6. Shane Victorino, RF
7. Stephen Drew, SS
8. David Ross, C
9. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF