Early Sox notes: Crawford, Drew to sit

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Early Sox notes: Crawford, Drew to sit

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com

BOSTON With left-hander Jason Vargas starting for the Mariners Friday night at Fenway Park, Red Sox manager Terry Francona used the opportunity to start right-handed hitters Mike Cameron in right field and Darnell McDonald in left field, resting lefties Carl Crawford and J.D. Drew. Cameron has not started since April 24, McDonald since April 19.

Wanted to get a couple of right-handers in there, Francona said. Wanted to keep them sharp and there's not a lot of lefties coming up in the near future. So we thought it would be a really good day to do that.

Crawford, mired in a season-long slump (.160), has hit lefties at a .267 mark in his career but just .171 this season. He has been working with hitting coach Dave Magadan on his approach at the plate, Francona said.

Mags spends a lot of time and I really think he does good, Francona said. If there's one thing I know they're talking about, is just getting ready sooner. When its a rush -- and theres different terms, get your front foot down -- and its a rush its a little bit harder to see the ball and react so theyre trying to get him ready a little more earlier.

Which should help improve Crawfords pitch selection.

It certainly should, yeah, Francona said. Hittings so finicky. People talk about mechanics, but if you're not seeing the ball, you can't have good mechanics. It just kind of all goes hand in hand.

Third baseman Kevin Youkilis, who jammed his left hip on a slide Thursday in Baltimore is in the lineup.

I think hes a little sore but I dont think its so sore he can't play, Francona said.

Today is the 25th anniversary of Roger Clemens first 20-strikeout game. The Red Sox were also playing the Mariners at Fenway Park in that game, which the Sox won, 3-1. Phil Bradley led the Mariners with four strikeouts. The Sox had a combined five strikeouts, led by Don Baylor with two.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Rosenthal: 'Some' Sox players question Farrell's leadership, game management

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Rosenthal: 'Some' Sox players question Farrell's leadership, game management

Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal ignited a local firestorm when he made a seemingly off-hand comment a few days ago that he "wouldn't be surprised" if the Red Sox fired John Farrell this year. (He quickly added he also "wouldn't be surprised" if Farrell stayed on and led the team to the A.L. East title this year, but that got scant mention.)

Today, however, Rosenthal expounded on Farrell and the Sox in a lengthy column on foxsports.com. While acknowledging the team's injuries and beyond-the-manager's-control inconsistencies (in the starting rotation and with the offense), he also ominously added, "The excuses for the Sox, though, go only so far — all teams deal with injuries, and not all of them boast $200 million payrolls. Other issues also have emerged under Farrell . . . "

Farrell, even when he won the 2013 World Series as a rookie manager, was not popular in all corners of the clubhouse. Some players, but not all, believe that he does not stand up for them strongly enough to the media when the team is struggling, sources say. Some also question Farrell’s game management, talk that exists in virtually every clubhouse, some more than others.

And then he mentioned two leadership problems:

The first occurred during the Red Sox’s prolonged dispute with the Orioles’ Manny Machado. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia, after Matt Barnes threw at Machado’s head, shouted across the field to Machado, 'it wasn’t me,' then told reporters that it was 'definitely a mishandled situation,' without mentioning Barnes or Farrell by name . . . 

The second incident occurred last Saturday, when Farrell engaged in a heated exchange with left-hander Drew Pomeranz in the dugout . . . [Pomeranz's] willingness to publicly challenge Farrell, in an exchange captured by television cameras, offered another indication that the manager and some of his players are not always on the same page.

Hmm.

Rosenthal's piece comes at a time when some of Farrell's harshest local critics are more or less giving him a pass, instead blaming Dave Dombrowski's flawed roster construction for the Sox' early season struggles , , , 

But there has been speculation hereabouts on whether or not Farrell has control of the clubhouse . . . 

Now that Rosenthal has weighed in, that sort of talk should increase.

In the end, Rosenthal makes no prediction on Farrell's future other than to conclude "If Dombrowski senses a change is necessary, he’ll make a change." 

But one prediction that can be made: The should-Farrell-be-fired? debate, which raged at unrealistic levels last year when the Red Sox won the division, isn't going to end anytime soon.