Notes: Francona still struggling with Gonzalez decision

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Notes: Francona still struggling with Gonzalez decision

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
PITTSBURGH With right-hander Jeff Karstens (4-4, 2.54 ERA) starting for the Pirates tonight, the decision to play J.D. Drew in right field and Josh Reddick in left was a fairly easy one for Red Sox manager Terry Francona.

The choice between David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez continues to be a difficult one, though. Francona said at the beginning of the week he has the option of moving Gonzalez to right field and playing Ortiz at first base in order to get two of his most productive bats in the lineup. But, he has been hesitant to make that move.

"I'm concerned that if something happened to somebody, you can't go back and undo it, Francona said. In theory, it sounds great. I'm excited by having David and Gonzie both in the lineup. But if he went out there and did something, I can't call time out and undo it. It's a little bit of an anxiety."

Francona said he would discuss the situation with general manager Theo Epstein and his coaches. Until he is comfortable making the move, he would prefer to leave things as they are.

"Everybody would love to see the at-bats in the lineup, he said We're all together on that. But there are some ramifications and we're all in it together. I told Theo: Until I'm sure, I'm not doing it. I think he's completely on board with that."

Francona acknowledged the defense would suffer by moving Gonzalez to right field and putting Ortiz at first base.

Francona will probably leave the lineup the wayit is for Sundays series finale.

"I don't think I'm going to do it Sunday, he said. I'm kind of on the fence. Since I am, I'm not sure I know what's right. But I am sure of what's not right. Until I'm positive that this is something to do, I'm going to stay away. That's how I feel. I'll probably stay away tomorrow. Reevaluate on the way to Philly. I'm hung up and I'm struggling with it and I don't want do something I'm struggling with. If we put Gonzie out there and he got hurt, I'm just not ready to do it. Maybe three, four games into this road trip . . . maybe I will. We'll see.

Although the Sox have lost three in a row two to the Padres and Friday night to the Pirates Francona will not let that affect his decision-making process.

I would never do that, he said.

Right-hander Bobby Jenks, on the disabled list since June 8 with left back tightness, is scheduled to make a rehab appearance with Double-A Portland Saturday night. Jenks is expected to start against New Hampshire (Blue Jays).

Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield is making his second career start against his former team, and his first at PNC Park. He is three wins shy of 200 for his career. In his last start, at 44 years and 321 days old, he became the oldest American League pitcher to earn a win while recording six or more strikeouts in an outing of at least eight innings since Nolan Ryan did it at 45 years and 155 days on July 4, 1992, while with Texas. Asked how long Wakefield can continue to pitch, Francona replied: As long as he wants to.

Its not easy, Francona said, and as players get older they have to work harder both during the season and in the offseason to maintain their conditioning.

His knuckleball is still good, Francona said. Hes lost a couple miles an hour, but its not the same thing.

Francona on Josh Reddick, hitting .435, who is in his second call-up this season:

Hes done a terrific job. With Carl out it lessens some of the burden.

Reddicks ability to play all three outfield positions also helps, Francona said.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen.

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