Notes: Red Sox switch things up versus Price

Notes: Red Sox switch things up versus Price
April 13, 2011, 12:12 am
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By MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Manager Terry Francona shuffled his lineup to get as many right-handed batters against Rays ace David Price as possible. In his career, lefties are hitting .218 (69-for-316) with one home run against Price, while righties are batting .232 (243-for-1049) with 32 home runs. The one left-handed home run was hit by Chase Utley in 2009. In his career, the Red Sox are hitting .248 (32-for-129) combined with six home runs.

Switch-hitters Led Lowrie and Jason Varitek are playing third and catching, respectively. Mike Cameron is playing center field in place of Jacoby Ellsbury and Darnell McDonald is in right instead of J.D. Drew. Kevin Youkilis is serving as the designated hitter instead of David Ortiz.

Wanted to get about as many right-handed hitters in as we could, Francona said. Weve got Jed Lowrie playing third and Youk DHing just because Jed gives us some versatility or in case something happened we could move him out of the infield.

Saltalamacchia knew a few days ago he would not be catching tonight. His wife delivered their third child at 6:23 this morning. The baby (to be named later) is the third girl for the couple, weighing in at 8 pounds, 4 ounces, and 20 inches long. Saltalamacchia said his wife and daughter are fine, but he was pretty tired after a night of no sleep.

Salty knew two days ago. Francona said. His wife had the baby and he had his hands full. He knew going in he wasnt going to catch tonight."

The move keeps Youkilis bat in the lineup while also giving him a bit of rest.

Thats the hope, Francona said. On a night like tonight Id like to use it to his advantage. He could swing the whole game as much as he wants. It might be good for him and it allows us to free up Lowrie where we could move him around.

Francona had considered using Lowrie at first base and Adrian Gonzalez as the DH.

We went back and forth, he said. One of those guys was going to DH tonight.

Francona had not had a chance to check in with Daisuke Matsuzaka after the right-handers disastrous outing Monday night.

I didn't see him yet, he said. Pitching coach Curt Young will talk to the pitchers every day. The hard thing for me is I can't have a casual conversation with Dice. Its easy to have one with anybody. John Lackey walks into the clubhouse or Jon Lester or whoever. You can't do that with Dice-K besides saying hello. Thats frustrating. That doesnt mean he can't pitch but its hard to have that casual conversation where you can ask, Hey, what are you thinking? Everything has to go through a translator.

Francona said Matsuzaka has been working on his English.

Hes done a good job, Francona said. Hes done a real good job. Its not like Spanish to English where we could all pick a word and kind of fake your way through it a little bit. This is a completely differentNo, hes actually done a real good job. And around the field especially theres a lot that he can understand, which really helps.

He understands. He knows whats going on.

Francona said Matsuzakas latest outing would not change the managers perspective.

He had a horrendous second inning. Francona said. I think if we do do things like that well set ourselves up for some really bad mistakes. It was tough to watch. But if you make decisions based on emotions and after a bad start, we wouldnt have a team left. You cant do that.

Carl Crawford, who entered Tuesdays game hitting .163, said he is not frustrated by his slow start. But, he is disappointed. He went 2-for-5 Monday night, and Francona saw him take good swings in Sundays game, although he went hitless.

I guess itll come together for me when my average gets back over .300, Crawford said. Thats when itll be together. Right now, its still a work in progress.

Im not frustrated by it because its just too early to get frustrated. I know the people watching are frustrated. Im not because I understand whats going on. Im disappointed by it but Im not upset or frustrated. Just have to keep playing it out.

Crawford said he is still adjusting to batting lead-off. He has primarily hit second. Last season, he had not plate appearances in the No. 1 slot.

Im starting to get a little comfortable there, he said. As time goes on Im pretty sure Ill get more comfortable with it, so I can play better.

Its not really an adjustment. Its just like leading off an inning, you have to do that sometimes, so I just treat it like that because really thats the only time you really lead off.

Crawford said he has not considered bunting to get on base yet.

Not really, he said. I might try to bunt maybe if I got comfortable with it. But, I dont know, for the most part I need to try to get my swing right.

Rays left fielder Sam Fuld doesnt even have a Twitter account. But, the legend of Sam Fuld was the talk of Twitterland after his performance Monday night when he went 4-for-6 with three runs scored, three RBI, and a two-run home run. He fell a single shy of the cycle, doubling down the left field line in the ninth inning. He also had a spectacular diving catch off Dustin Pedroia, which made all the highlight shows. Fuld grew up in Durham, NH, and went to Phillips Exeter Academy. He had a group of 25 to 30 family in friends at Fenway to watch his performance.

To have that kind of game setting career highs in hits, RBI, runs scored, and total bases with 11 at Fenway Park was a highlight for him. Fuld, 29, was a 10th-round pick of the Cubs out of Stanford in 2004. He went to the Rays as part of the Matt Garza trade in January.

Its even better, he said. Even if I had gone 0-for-6, I would have been the happiest 0-for-6 player in the game, just to be playing out here. So, combine playing in this great ballpark, that I grew up going to and having a game like that, its been amazing.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen