Marco Scutaro Gets a Second Straight Day Off, Part of Terry Francona’s Constant Mission to Keep Players Fresh

When a 35-year-old shortstop gets a day off early in September, it's no big deal. When that 35-year-old shortstop gets two straight days off early in September, people want to know why.

In regards to Marco Scutaro, it's just a matter of extended rest.

"Wanted to give him one more day," manager Terry Francona said Saturday. "Just to let him take advantage of having [Kevin Youkilis] back. We'll put him out there tomorrow. I think these two days will be really good for him."

Jed Lowrie, who had been making most of the starts at third base with Youkilis out, was the starting shortstop Friday and Saturday against Texas. Scutaro last played Thursday night against New York, a four-hour, 21-minute affair.

Scutaro, who had neck and shoulder issues last year, was recently bothered by a sore back that caused him to miss multiple games. He is "a little beat up," according to Francona, who constantly has to balance his desire to play the regulars with making sure they get enough rest.

"I think it's also our responsibility, also, to try to pick and choose [days off], even when they may not want to hear it," Francona said. "Just trying to keep our guys healthy so they can be more productive.

"If they need it, not if they don't need it. But if they need it, it's certainly important. We try to keep an eye on them."

This balancing act is a season-long chore, Francona said. This time of year, with the playoffs on the horizon, it draws more attention. That doesn't mean the day-to-day decisions are really any different than they are in April.

"There's no set formula," Francona said. "I just think you watch guys and try to use common sense."

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