Pregame notes: Sizemore battling first slump of season

Pregame notes: Sizemore battling first slump of season
April 23, 2014, 5:45 pm
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BOSTON -- After a terrific start at the plate, Grady Sizemore finds himself in the middle of an offensive funk. He's hitless on the current homestand (0-for- 12) and is just 5-for-39 (.128) with just one extra base hit in his last 11 games.

Despite that, Sizemore was in the lineup Wednesday night and hitting in the leadoff spot.

"When he's squared up some balls, the ball hasn't quite traveled to what we might expect,'' said John Farrell. "[Jacoby Ellsbury] makes a heck of a diving play on him [in the first inning on Tuesday] night. We're not seeing an abnormal amount of swing-and-misses . . . the bat speed is there. There's not a whole lot of bottom-line results for the approach taken.

"I don't see him coming out of an approach or trying to do more than he's capable. But we also have to keep in mind that this is a guy who's starting to compile a number of at-bats with a large gap since his last regular[(stretch of] playing time. But I don't see anything from a mechanic standpoint that's a flaw.

"This is a guy who's been through a lot, but we still feel as though he's going to be an above-average hitter and of late, he hasn't had a whole lot to show for it.''

In the last two-plus weeks, Sizemore has played almost exclusively in the corner outfield spots, something he hadn't done before in the majors. At times, the unfamiliarity with left and right fields has shown, with Sizemore having some difficulty tracking balls.

On Tuesday night, he seemed to get a poor read on a ball that dropped in front of him for a base hit to right.

"He's not as comfortable as he would be in center field,'' said Farrell, "and we recognize that. He played a deep right field, so the ball in front of him, he ends up being just a little bit short. But through the repetition, we see him more as a corner outfielder at this point rather than in center, so we're doing what we can to shorten down that [learning] curve to be more efficient.''

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David Ortiz is set to tie Harold Baines for most games all-time at the designated hitter position with 1,643.

Ortiz is already the career DH leads in hits (1,778), doubles (450), homers (385) and RBI (1,256).

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Farrell was asked if the Sox would be vigilant about the use of pine tar by New York starter Michael Pineda. Pineda famously seemed to have a glop of pine star on his hand when he started against the Red Sox on April 10 in New York.

"I would expect that if it's used,'' said Farrell, "it will be more discreet than last time."