DETROIT -- After two losses and just two runs scored in the first 18 innings, it was perhaps expected that manager Bobby Valentine would shake up his lineup.
And so he did Sunday, inserting Nick Punto into the leadoff spot for the day, replacing Kevin Youkilis (hitless) at third base.
Valentine also gave starts to catcher Kelly Shoppach and outfielder Darnell McDonald.
"We're getting some guys their first starts of the year,'' said Valentine, "and I think we'll be able to score some runs with it -- hope so.''
Valentine said he planned to mix up the lineup some and get playing time for the reserves even before the lineup sputtered in the first two games.
Punto is a .169 career hitter in the leadoff spot, but that didn't seem to dissuade Valentine when he made up the lineup card.
"I think he's probably going to hit .260 in the leadoff spot,'' said Valentine, "so he's got a lot of hits coming up. I don't think that has anything to do with it. Personally, I don't think it has anything to do with it.''
Valentine said he chose Punto to hit leadoff "just to see what it looks like, see if it gives us a spark. He's a sparking kind of player who battles every at-bat.''
McDonald, meanwhile, replaces Cody Ross in the lineup even though Detroit is starting righthander Max Scherzer and McDonald only started against three righties last season.
"Most of his at-bats in the spring were against righthanders,'' explained Valentine. "If he's ever ready to start against a righthander, it's now.''
Thanks in large part to a big performance by Tuukka Rask, the Bruins were able to squeak out a 2-1 win against the Sabres.
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Jordan Mickey, inactive in five of the Boston Celtics’ last six games, has been assigned to the Maine Red Claws of the Development League.
“He’s been inactive in a few of these games here,” Stevens told reporters prior to tonight’s game at Philadelphia. “And rather than being inactive and being here in a suit and tie, we knew there was a hockey game this afternoon and it was going to be unlikely to get much action on the court at all today. So it made a lot more sense to play for a couple days and fly down to Houston and meet us.”
Mickey has appeared in just eight games this season, averaging 2.2 points and 1.8 rebounds while shooting 47.1 percent from the field.
Tonight will be the former second-round pick’s 10th missed game this season, five in which he did not play (coaches decision) and another five in which he will be inactive.
The lack of playing time for the second-year player has more to do with Boston’s depth in the frontcourt than anything specific to his game.
“He’s done a good job,” Stevens said of Mickey. “It’s the same old thing that last year although we’re not quite as deep at that spot. But it’s still, at the end of the day we have to make a decision of, are we going to play more traditional or are we going to slide like a Jonas (Jerebko) or Jae (Crowder) over to the four (power forward) and play more spaced which limits the amount of bigs you can have in a game.
Stevens added, “he’s done a good job. He’s made progress. I don’t think there’s any question we think he’s a guy that can help us not only down the road but this year.”
Mickey is in the lineup for the Red Claws’ game tonight against Santa Cruz and he’s also scheduled to play in Sunday’s game against the Raptors 905 with both games being televised via Facebook Live.