Crawford returns to second spot


Crawford returns to second spot

By Sean McAdam Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam

NEW YORK -- With just six games left in the regular season, the Red Sox batting order went through a rather radical overhaul Saturday as Terry Francona shuffled his lineup.

Carl Crawford, who had hit sixth or seventh for much of the season, was elevated to second, with Dustin Pedroia dropped to third, David Ortiz in the cleanup spot and Adrian Gonzalez inserted in the fifth hole for the first time since Opening Day.

"I just was thinking about it lot with (bench coach) DeMarlo Hale," said Francona, "and I spoke to some of the players and I think it puts Carl in a position where he feels like he can impact us a little bit more.

"I know his on-base percentage isn't typically what you would have for somebody in the two-hole but we're in more of a shorter sample size and it seems like he's trying to swing the bat. We want him to be aggressive on the bases."

Francona said he "invited (players') opinions -- and I got some good ones. I just think it's the right thing to do. We talked about trying to lengthen that lineup out a little bit and we think this is the right way to do it."

Crawford was happy with the change.

"I'm excited about (being back at the top)," said Crawford. "I can cause a little more havoc and play the way I've always played -- try to steal bases and get on for the guys behind me. I don't have to worry about trying to hit a home run every time (I'm) at-bat -- stuff like that."

In four at-bats, he was 1-for-4 with a run-scoring double in the seventh accounting for the only run of the game.

"It was a little different,'' said Crawford. "I hadn't been there in a while. It felt a little weird. It's just something you have to get used to if I'm going to be there.''

Terry Francona hinted that he would use the same lineup -- with Crawford hitting second, Dustin Pedroia third, David Ortiz cleanup and Adrian Gonzalez fifth -- in at least one of the two games scheduled for Sunday.

Crawford said hitting sixth or seventh in the order has been "very frustrating. (Running) is a big part of my game, so to have that taken away from you is kind of tough to deal with . . . I don't know how long it's going to last but at least for the day, it feels good to be back up there."

Crawford said he was approached by some veteran players -- whom he would not name -- to propose going to Francona about the switch.

One of the consequences to the move was moving Gonzalez to fifth, which Francona allowed was part of the "give-and-take."

"I don't think it's going to affect him. The way the other guys are swinging the bat, I think it's OK. I think the positives outweigh the negatives."

Kevin Youkilis, who hit indoors Friday, spoke with Francona and will continue to test his body Saturday and Sunday and see where he is physically on Monday.

Youkilis has been hampered with a hip issue and a sports hernia and has been in great discomfort.

"He's going to keep continuing and grind through it and see where it leads him," said Francona. "I don't know where that's going to go and I don't think he does either. Is he available to pinch-hit? How much can he do? We really don't know.

"But we'll give it a couple of days here and see where it leads. We kind of have to do that."

Sean McAdam can be reached at Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to Hall of Fame

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to Hall of Fame

NEW YORK - Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were elected to baseball's Hall of Fame on Wednesday, earning the honor as Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero fell just short.

Steroids-tainted stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were passed over for the fifth straight year by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. But they received significantly more votes this time and could be in position to gain election in coming years.

Bagwell, on the ballot for the seventh time after falling 15 votes short last year, received 381 of 442 votes for 86.2 percent. Players needed 75 percent, which came to 332 votes this year.

In his 10th and final year of eligibility, Raines was on 380 ballots (86 percent). Rodriguez received 336 votes (76 percent) to join Johnny Bench in 1989 as the only catchers elected on the first ballot.

Hoffman was five votes shy and Guerrero 15 short.

Edgar Martinez was next at 58.6 percent, followed by Clemens at 54.1 percent, Bonds at 53.8 percent, Mike Mussina at 51.8 percent, Curt Schilling at 45 percent, Lee Smith at 34.2 percent and Manny Ramirez at 23.8 percent.

Players will be inducted July 30 during ceremonies at Cooperstown along with former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta Braves executive John Schuerholz, both elected last month by a veterans committee.

Bagwell was a four-time All-Star who spent his entire career with Houston, finishing with a .297 batting average, 401 homers and 1,401 RBIs.

Raines, fifth in career stolen bases, was a seven-time All-Star and the 1986 NL batting champion. He spent 13 of 23 big league seasons with the Montreal Expos, who left Canada to become the Washington Nationals for the 2005 season, and joins Andre Dawson and Gary Carter as the only players to enter the Hall representing the Expos.

Raines hit .294 with a .385 on-base percentage, playing during a time when Rickey Henderson was the sport's dominant speedster.

Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star who hit .296 with 311 homers and 1,332 RBIs, was never disciplined for PEDs but former Texas teammate Jose Canseco alleged in a 2005 book that he injected the catcher with steroids. Asked whether he was on the list of players who allegedly tested positive for steroids during baseball's 2003 survey, Rodriguez said in 2009: "Only God knows."

Bonds, a seven-time MVP who holds the season and career home run records, received 36.2 percent in his initial appearance, in 2013, and jumped from 44.3 percent last year. Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, rose from 45.2 percent last year.

Bonds was indicted on charges he lied to a grand jury in 2003 when he denied using PEDs, but a jury failed to reach a verdict on three counts he made false statements and convicted him on one obstruction of justice count, finding he gave an evasive answer. The conviction was overturned appeal in 2015.

Clemens was acquitted on one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements to Congress and two counts of perjury, all stemming from his denials of drug use.

A 12-time All-Star on the ballot for the first time, Ramirez was twice suspended for violating baseball's drug agreement. He helped the Boston Red Sox win World Series titles in 2004 and `07, the first for the franchise since 1918, and hit .312 with 555 home runs and 1,831 RBIs in 19 big league seasons.

Several notable players will join them in the competition for votes in upcoming years: Chipper Jones in 2018, Mariano Rivera and Roy Halladay in 2019, and Derek Jeter in 2020.

Sam Travis among nine non-roster invitees added to Red Sox spring training roster

Sam Travis among nine non-roster invitees added to Red Sox spring training roster

The Red Sox have invited nine non-roster players to spring training, the team announced Wednesday. The team now has a total of 15 non-roster invitees. 

Added Wednesday to the spring training roster were outfielder/infielder Allen Craig, third baseman Rafael Devers, first baseman Sam Travis, catcher Jordan Procyshen, outfielders Brian Bogusevic and Rusney Castillo, and right-handed pitchers Kyle Kendrick, Chandler Shepherd and Ben Taylor.

In addition to 39 players on the 40-man roster, the Sox have the following breakdown of non-roster invitees: 

Pitchers: Kyle Kendrick, Edgar Olmos, Chandler Shepherd, Ben Taylor, Marcus Walden
Catchers: Dan Butler, Jake DePew, Jordan Procyshen
Infielders: Rafael Devers, Matt Dominguez, Sam Travis
Outfielders: Brian Bogusevic, Rusney Castillo, Allen Craig, Junior Lake