Valentine goes traditional with first lineup

Valentine goes traditional with first lineup
April 5, 2012, 5:23 pm
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DETROIT -- Manager Bobby Valentine has said all spring that the lineup will continue to evolve, with little set in stone.
But for the season opener, Valentine took the traditional route at the top, installing Jacoby Ellsbury in the leadoff spot. Over the course of the spring, Ellsbury hit second and third occasionally, but for the opener, it's leadoff again.
Ellsbury, of course, will be the first Red Sox hitter to face Detroit starter Justin Verlander, who edged out Ellsbury to win the A.L. MVP last fall.
"I thought it would be apropos for you guys to write about the number one and number two in the MVP voting facing each other on a first pitch here in Detroit this year," Valentine said. "And Ellsbury liked it, too. Talking to him, he kind of relished the idea."
Also somewhat unorthodox: Valentine has two left-handed hitters -- Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz batting back-to-back in the order at Nos, 3 and 4, with right-handed-hitting Kevin Youkilis batting fifth.
Terry Francona, Valentine's predecessor, liked to split up the lefties in the order to make it tough for the opposing manager to match up lefty relievers.
But Valentine said he wanted the two lefties higher in the order against Verlander.