By Maureen Mullen
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