By Danny Picard
BOSTON -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; The Red Sox didnt have on-field batting practice on Monday,prior to their game with the Chicago White Sox. Instead, they hit in the cages.
One of those players that hit in the cage was shortstop JedLowrie, however, he isnt in the starting lineup, thanks to a stiff leftshoulder.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona said that Lowrie may beavailable to pinch hit on Monday, a day after he collided with Carl Crawford,but continued stiffness forced Francona to play it safe.
Lowrie will return to the lineup on Tuesday. But Drew Suttonwill start at shortstop on Monday night, hitting seventh.
We thought about playing him, said Francona in Mondayspregame press conference at Fenway Park. We kind of went back and forth andsaid, Lets see if this thing loosens up. Then, because were not takingbatting practice on the field, and its a late arrival, I said, You know what,why dont we just let you hit in the cage. As the day progresses, if you feelgood, maybe well pinch hit you. If you dont, then its a good thing we stayedaway.
This is nothing. Hell play tomorrow. And he probably couldcertainly play today. Its just, the more I started talking to him, I thought,well, were going to use our heads here.
Reliever Bobby Jenks (biceps tendinitis) has rejoined theclub, but wont be activated until Tuesday.
Left-hander Franklin Morales (forearm) had an MRI onMonday morning, but the Red Sox were awaiting the results of that MRI, as ofMonday afternoon.
With May coming to an end, warm weather isfinally here, and the Red Sox are back in first place.
Francona said on Monday that hed rather play in warm, humidconditions.
Yesterday, it was hot in Detroit, and humid, saidFrancona. Guys were happy. Its baseball weather. Its a lot easier to playwhen its warm and humid. You get a sweat going. The at-bats carry over. Theball carries.
Francona was also asked to reflect on the first two monthsof the season, and he said all he cares about, is where they end up.
I dont care one bit about May, Francona said. That meansabsolutely nothing to me. I feel better about the way were playing. Thosearbitrary deadlines mean nothing. Were playing better, and thats what we feelgood about.
If you just play the game right, and give yourself achance, youll end up where youre supposed to.
Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.