Notes: Crawford bounces back up the order

Notes: Crawford bounces back up the order
April 5, 2011, 9:40 pm
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By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

CLEVELAND -- For the third time in four games, Carl Crawford is in a different spot in the lineup.

Crawford hit third in the first two games in Texas before being dropped to seventh in the series finale Sunday, responding with a two-hit game.

For Tuesday's opener here at Progressive Field, Crawford is hitting second with Dustin Pedroia third.

"In the big picture, I don't think it matters," said Terry Francona. "I just thought hitting him third the first couple of days, coupled with being new, I thought he was trying to do too much. Maybe this will get him and Jacoby Ellsbury back-to-back, get them on base and let them cause some havoc.

"We may drop him down in the order, at least for while, at least against lefties just to kind of make our batting order look a little better. We'll see. But again, when guys are hitting and kind of get into a groove, that won't matter much. I just think he was trying too hard the first couple of days."

Francona hinted that he might flip-flop Crawford and Pedroia from the second or third spots from time-to-time.

"I don't think it matters," said Francona. "Our batting order might change a little bit early on, depending on who's pitching for them, who we have available, how we're swinging it. I don't think it's as big a deal as people are making it out to be."

Jarrod Saltalamacchia was in the lineup for the fourth straight game. There had been some speculation that Jason Varitek might be in the lineup Tuesday to catch Josh Beckett, with whom he's worked well in the past.

Saltalamacchia is hitless in 10 at-bats through the first three games, but Francona said he wanted to get the young catcher going at the plate.

"I'd like Tek to catch Wednesday night or Thursday afternoon," explained Francona, "one or the other, so if we did it tonight, it wouldn't match up right. He's going to catch one of the two and I'd really like to get Salty going here. He was so over-anxious and swinging it everything. I'd like to get him settled in."

Francona spoke to Saltalamacchia Tuesday and advised him to try to relax.

"It's a long year," he said. "It's human nature. This game can humble you in a minute."

It's possible that Saltalamacchia allowed the poor performance of the starting pitchers in Texas to carry over to his at-bats.

"I think he had a lot on his plate," said Francona. "A lot of balls we were throwing weren't going where we wanted them to. That was a tough couple of days. Any good catcher, I think they take the performance of the pithing staff personally."

Dennys Reyes pitched in each of the first three games of the season, the first Red Sox pitcher to do so since Jeff Gray (April 8-11, 1991).

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam