NEW YORK — Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell switched up his lineup card for Thursday’s series opener against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Grady Sizemore was moved into the leadoff spot and shifted to left field.
There was a method to Farrell’s madness in both instances.
Sizemore, who has batted in the middle of the order for much of this season, hit leadoff Thursday because Boston wanted to give Daniel Nava an extra push. Nava entered Thursday’s game hitting .125 (4-for-32).
“It’s as much trying to get Daniel going,” Farrell said before Thursday’s game. “We still value the on-base (ability), which Daniel has a strong track record of that, and yet right now we feel like we’ve got to give him an opportunity to get his feet on the ground offensively. Once he does, we feel like he’ll be in that spot. Just trying to make the most of the current streaks or the way guys are swinging the bat right now.”
Sizemore’s defensive shift was a product of the dimensions at Yankee Stadium. Farrell said Sizemore moving to left field wasn’t permanent but simply gave the Red Sox their best defensive alignment in New York, which has a large left field and a short porch in right.
“The ground that’s going to be covered here in Yankee Stadium is almost the reverse of what we deal with at Fenway,” Farrell said. “To keep Jackie (Bradley Jr.) in center field and Grady over in left is for that particular reason — to cover the vast space that’s on the left side of the field.
“It’s an alignment we’ve talked about internally,” Farrell added. “It’s best fitting here with the ground to cover. Whether or not this is something we do, I’m not going to say on a permanent basis because we’ve shown we’re going to rotate Jonny Gomes through there and he’s going to get ample time in left field as well. This is the way we’re going at it (Thursday). This isn’t something that we’re looking to pencil in every day going forward.”
Sizemore never started a game in left field at the major league level until Thursday.