NEW YORK - Dustin Pedroia became the fourth different Red Sox player to be utilized in the leadoff spot Saturday, following Daniel Nava, Jonny Gomes and Grady Sizemore.
The move comes as Pedroia has been scuffling at the plate. He entered Saturday hitless in his last 10 at-bats and dating back to the home series against Texas, is just 2-for-18. Strangely, in 50 at-bats this season, he has yet to draw a walk.
"It's more about the overall performance in the leadoff spot,'' said John Farrell in explaining the move. "It's also a chance for Dustin to just focus on getting on base. I think there's been times when Pedey has expanded the strike zone a little bit and forced the issue some. It's another opportunity to get him to see some pitches.''
The Sox used Gomes there Friday night and he responded with a solo homer and single in four plate appearances. Nava has had a tough time getting on base (.205 OBP) from any spot in the lineup.
"We're looking for a combination,'' said Farrell, "a little bit of a spark at the top.''
Pedroia seems to be pressing some at the plate over the last few days.
"That's the root of it,'' said Farrell, "as evident by (Friday) night. Man in scoring position (for him in the third inning), there was an aggressiveness there that we typically don't see from him. So the focus is, 'Don't worry about driving the baseball -- just go up there and take a normal at-bat.' ''
· With the Sox playing a day game after a night game Saturday, Grady Sizemore who had a single and three-run homer Friday night, was held out. The Sox had an outfield alignment of Mike Carp in left and Nava in right.
"Day game after a night game right now,'' said Farrell, "we're trying to manage his return to everyday play and that's why he's down today.''
It was just the third start this season for Carp, who has been used more coming off the bench in the later innings, having appeared in three other games in that capacity.