BALTIMORE -- Jackie Bradley has been through a rough road trip, going just 4-for-20 (all singles) with 11 strikeouts, including eight in three games over the weekend.
So perhaps it wasn't a great surprise that Bradley was missing from the lineup Monday night as the Red Sox opened a series here. It marked the first time since May 21 that he wasn't in the starting lineup.
With Bradley sitting, the Sox went with Grady Sizemore in center.
"One, I wanted to keep Grady in the mix,'' offered John Farrell. "And I think Jackie needs a little bit of a breather. We get into [Camden Yards], where there's not as much ground to cover. I feel like we were able to that with [Brock] Holt (in left), Sizemore and [Daniel] Nava (in right) adequately. And Jackie's had some challenges of late.
"He's been working on something in early BP with a little bit of a different setup, where his hand placement is. But yet, the strikeouts are probably more than he's ever experienced and maybe we projected. So it's a chance to take a little bit of a breather.''
In his last at-bat Sunday night against lefty flamethrower Phil Coke, Bradley seemed to be swinging out of his shoes, rather than focusing on shortening up his swing and making contact.
"The work in early BP is to do just that -- try to create and produce a little bit more of a consistent swing path,'' said Farrell. "And yet, I think there may be a tendency, when he's facing guys with above-average velocity, it's not uncommon -- not just for Jackie -- for hitters to combat that velocity with added effort and that can create a little length in his swing at times.''
Farrell was careful to praise Bradley's defensive play, which hasn't suffered with his hitting woes.
"He's a talented player,'' said Farrell. "He's had an impact on a number of games he's played for us. He's one of the better defending center fielders in the game. And yet we've got some offensive things that he's aware of and we're aware of, to gain some consistency.''