Dustin Pedroia is back in the Boston Red Sox’s starting lineup Saturday against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.
Pedroia missed three of the last four games with a sore left knee. The second baseman will bat third in his return to the lineup, marking just his second time batting out of the No. 3 hole this season.
Pedroia had been thriving out of the leadoff spot, hitting .350 (35-for-100) with four homers, 11 RBIs and an .889 OPS in 24 games since taking over Boston’s leadoff duties May 23. Mookie Betts and Brock Holt are tearing the cover off the baseball, however, so manager John Farrell decided to stick with that tandem atop the order for Boston’s middle game against Kansas City.
Betts last batted leadoff May 22. The 22-year-old is hitting .333 (30-for-90) with an .842 OPS in 25 games since moving out of the position. He’s hitting .591 (13-for-22) in five games since sitting out back-to-back contests with a back injury he suffered while colliding with the outfield wall at Fenway Park.
Farrell obviously would like to keep Holt in the lineup given the way he’s swung the bat of late. Holt, who will start at shortstop Saturday in place of Xander Bogaerts, has started each of the Red Sox’s last 14 games, during which he’s hit .377 (20-for-53) with a .476 on-base percentage.
Bogaerts has played in every game since May 13, so he was due for a breather. Outfielder Rusney Castillo, who entered the series opener late in the game as a defensive replacement, is not in the Red Sox’s starting lineup for the fifth time in six games.
The complete lineups for Saturday’s Red Sox-Royals matchup are below.
RED SOX (30-39)
Mookie Betts, CF
Brock Holt, SS
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Hanley Ramirez, LF
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Mike Napoli, 1B
Alejandro De Aza, RF
Blake Swihart, C
Rick Porcello, RHP (4-7, 5.29 ERA)
Alcides Escobar, SS
Mike Moustakas, 3B
Lorenzo Cain, CF
Eric Hosmer, 1B
Kendrys Morales, DH
Alex Gordon, LF
Salvador Perez, C
Alex Rios, RF
Omar Infante, 2B
Edinson Volquez, RHP (6-4, 3.10 ERA)
Thumbnail photo via Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports Images