BOSTON -- Despite the presence of lefty Martin Perez on the mound for the Texas Rangers, the left-handed-hitting Jackie Bradley Jr. was back in the Red Sox lineup Tuesday, a reflection of both the three-hit night he had Monday and his defensive skills as the Red Sox struggle to navigate through the first few weeks of the season without Shane Victorino.
"We've all come to realize the importance of defense in right field,'' said John Farrell, "and Jackie made two game-changing plays in right field [Monday] night. And he's a in a pretty good place offensively from a confidence standpoint. We felt like this was an opporutnity to get (struggling) Daniel Nava a night off his feet, as well.''
The Sox have Bradley in right and Jonny Gomes (hitting leadoff) in left, with Grady Sizemore in center.
Nava is hitting just .138 with an on-base percentage of .219.
"I don't think he's changed his approach,'' said Farrell. "I just think he's at times he's hit into a little tough luck. On Sunday, he could have easily had three hits. He was on base three times [Monday] night. Last year was not a fluke in terms of his ability to get on base (.388 OBP). I think there's been a tendency of late to try to lift the ball a little bit and at the same time, it's (only) been 30 at-bats. He's trying to get into the flow of the season as well.''
With a lefty starting, Farrell went with Gomes in the leadoff spot. Gomes came into this year with a .375 OBP against lefties.
"One thing we prioritize (from leadoff hitters) is on-base [ability],'' said Farrell, "and yet we're still trying to generate that. We're going to be in a situation where we mix-and-match as best we can, as evident by the guys currently available.
"We're going to see Jonny and Daniel in that spot. That might be a time or two where we put Grady in the leadoff spot, but we don't have that prototypical guy right now. I like Dustin [Pedroia] is the No. 2 hole. It creates the middle-of-the-order continuity for the rest of the guys who are there. We're looking to take advantage of the strengths of our the guys we have available . . . We're doing what we can."