Sox balancing three-way shuffle

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Sox balancing three-way shuffle

TORONTO Since Kevin Youkilis returned from the disabled list on May 22, manager Bobby Valentine has been rotating Youkilis, Adrian Gonzalez, and Will Middlebrooks among first base, third base, and right field. And, for the most part, doing so successfully.

Since Youkilis returned on May 22 from missing 22 games on the disabled list with a low back strain, the Sox have gone 5-4.

Asked if having all three in the lineup gives the Sox their best offensive alignment, Valentine responded:

Probably. Maybe. Maybe.

Youkilis is not in the starting lineup for Friday nights series opener with the Jays. Gonzalez is playing first base, batting third. Middlebrooks is playing third, batting sixth.

Since his return Youkilis has split time at first base and third base, batting .313, slugging .531, with two home runs, including one in his first game back.

Gonzalez has made six starts in right field and three at first base, splitting time between the two positions in three games. In that span, he is batting .250 (9-for-36) with a home run, three doubles, four runs scored, five RBI, and seven strikeouts.

In six games during that span Middlebrooks has hit .381 (8-for-21) with a home run, a double, a run scored, five RBI, a walk, and five strikeouts.

Asked if he sees the rotation of the three as a long-term possibility, Valentine said hed like to wait until after Mondays scheduled off day to assess the situation.

I think after the off day it would be a good time to collect everyones thoughts on it, or maybe even within the next couple of days, Valentine said. It just depends on how it affects the guys physically and mentally.

Valentine said he has not sensed any aversion from Gonzalez, who has started eight of the last 13 games in right field, to playing right. Before this season, he had played just three games over his career in the outfield, all in right.

I dont sense that aversion, Valentine said. No, theres been no indication of that.

Flubbed popup opens floodgates, helps Blue Jays beat Red Sox, 8-6

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Flubbed popup opens floodgates, helps Blue Jays beat Red Sox, 8-6

BOSTON -- Justin Smoak hit a pair of homers and Steve Pearce drove in two runs when Boston second baseman Brock Holt lost his popup in the sun, and the Toronto Blue Jays held on to beat the Red Sox 8-6 on Thursday.

The teams split the four-game series. Including the 15-inning game on Tuesday with Toronto, the AL East-leading Red Sox played 76 innings in about 144 hours - the equivalent of 8 1/2 games in six days.

Dominic Leone (2-0) earned the win. Starter Francisco Liriano got just five outs, allowing three runs in the second, but Toronto came back with four in the third to take a 5-3 lead against Doug Fister (0-4).

Roberto Osuna pitched the ninth for his 24th save.

Smoak has 26 homers this season. His previous career high was 20, in 2013.

It was 7-3 in the seventh when Dustin Pedroia, in the lineup at designated hitter after the long week, hit a three-run homer - his third hit of the day and his fourth homer in 11 games.

Smoak, who also had an RBI single, added his second homer of the game in the ninth.

Farrell says Red Sox clubhouse anticipating trade

Farrell says Red Sox clubhouse anticipating trade

BOSTON — John Farrell might have stopped short of actually stumping for a deal. Still, the Red Sox manager on Thursday morning spoke highly of the potential impact of a trade and indicated his players are waiting to see what this front office can add to a first-place team.

From a morale perspective, Farrell sees a potential boon in an acquisition.

“I think it’s always a plus,” Farrell said. “It’s a strong sign that everyone is aligned to support, add to, fortify — however you want to describe it — an area of need. And I think there’s a lot that goes into — there’s almost an injection of maybe that support or, further momentum that, OK, this is going to better equip us to go deep into the season.”

The players, Farrell said, have an anticipation for the possibility of a trade as well.

“I think there is. I think players carry that,” Farrell said. “They’re well in tune. Maybe some of them might be wondering OK, am I out?...So there’s a tentative period of time that we’ll go through here in the next 10-14 days. But adding to [the team] I think is always a positive.”

A day earlier, Farrell noted the improvement the Yankees made in their trade for Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle.