Sox balancing three-way shuffle

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Sox balancing three-way shuffle

TORONTO Since Kevin Youkilis returned from the disabled list on May 22, manager Bobby Valentine has been rotating Youkilis, Adrian Gonzalez, and Will Middlebrooks among first base, third base, and right field. And, for the most part, doing so successfully.

Since Youkilis returned on May 22 from missing 22 games on the disabled list with a low back strain, the Sox have gone 5-4.

Asked if having all three in the lineup gives the Sox their best offensive alignment, Valentine responded:

Probably. Maybe. Maybe.

Youkilis is not in the starting lineup for Friday nights series opener with the Jays. Gonzalez is playing first base, batting third. Middlebrooks is playing third, batting sixth.

Since his return Youkilis has split time at first base and third base, batting .313, slugging .531, with two home runs, including one in his first game back.

Gonzalez has made six starts in right field and three at first base, splitting time between the two positions in three games. In that span, he is batting .250 (9-for-36) with a home run, three doubles, four runs scored, five RBI, and seven strikeouts.

In six games during that span Middlebrooks has hit .381 (8-for-21) with a home run, a double, a run scored, five RBI, a walk, and five strikeouts.

Asked if he sees the rotation of the three as a long-term possibility, Valentine said hed like to wait until after Mondays scheduled off day to assess the situation.

I think after the off day it would be a good time to collect everyones thoughts on it, or maybe even within the next couple of days, Valentine said. It just depends on how it affects the guys physically and mentally.

Valentine said he has not sensed any aversion from Gonzalez, who has started eight of the last 13 games in right field, to playing right. Before this season, he had played just three games over his career in the outfield, all in right.

I dont sense that aversion, Valentine said. No, theres been no indication of that.

Sox hope to bring David Ortiz back to Boston for new role

Sox hope to bring David Ortiz back to Boston for new role

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- David Oritz’s time in Boston as a player is over. He continues to say there’s no Brett Favre-type comeback, no matter how many people ask him.

However, that doesn’t mean his time with the Red Sox is over.

Sam Kennedy, Tom Werner and Dave Dombrowski are heading down to the Dominican Republic to tour the team’s academy on the island to see what changes, if any, need to be made.

Ortiz will join them on those tours.

“He’s just a good guy to go to the Dominican with,” Kennedy said. “We thought it’d be great to catch up. Haven’t seen him since before the holidays.”

But the front office members intend to exchange more than just pleasantries and stories from the holiday season. One goal on the trip is to bring Ortiz back to the organization as an employee.

“Yeah that’s something on the agenda,” Kennedy said. “We’re gonna talk about what he may or may not want to do. He did say after the season let’s just talk in January. He was so overwhelmed and tired so it’s a good time to start those conversations.

“I know he has a lot of plans, broadcasting, a lot of businesses he’s involved with and we’ll see what he’s up to. But we hope to cement something so he’s a part of the organization.”

What role that is yet to be determined. Assuming he doesn’t pursue a broadcasting career.

“I truly don’t know what’s on his mind,” Kennedy said. “He’ll obviously be good at whatever he decides to do, but I would hope that we could create a role where he has influence in the baseball operations side, he has influence in marketing, as an ambassador. A lot of our alums we’ve found really enjoy working with young players. Pedro [Martinez] is a perfect example of that.

“So we’ll see what he’s interested in doing, but I have heard him talk about broadcasting in the past and I think he’d be great at it if he decides to do it.”

Swihart, Wright fully recovered for Red Sox' spring training

Swihart, Wright fully recovered for Red Sox' spring training

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- Dave Dombrowski told reporters at the Red Sox Winter Weekend at Foxwoods both Steven Wright and Blake Swihart are ready to go for spring training.

Wright suffered a shoulder injury from sliding back into second as a pinch runner against the Dodgers in August, ending his All-Star season far too soon. The knuckleballer went 13-6 with a 3.33 ERA in 24 starts last season.

“His shoulder has been feeling good,” Dombrowski said of Wright, who was not at the event due to a prior engagement. “He’s out there throwing, so he feels good.”

Swihart saw his season end even sooner than Wright, after spraining his left ankle June 4 tracking down a foul ball in left field near the wall at Fenway Park. He played in only 19 games last season. 

“[Swihart] said he feels great,” Dombrowski said. “He’s going right from here down to Florida and he said he’s ready to go.”

Swihart will move back to the catcher position for spring training, with his goal of winning the job over Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez. The ankle might’ve been a cause for concern had the Red Sox handled the situation differently, but by all accounts he’s OK to catch again.

“They tell me [there’s no reason for concern],” Dombrowski said. “I guess I’m really not knowledgeable to say that, but the doctors and trainers have told me no.

"That’s why they went and had the surgery because they felt the way the tendon kept slipping that [there was a] possibility it would bother him more. But after the surgery now, they feel there will not be any problems in that regard.”