The Boston Red Sox’s lineup looked a bit different Tuesday night.
With second baseman Dustin Pedroia returning from the disabled list after a 10-day stint due to a knee injury, the Red Sox found a spot for him at designated hitter. As a result, Eduardo Nunez manned second base in the series opener against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Some sort of a move was expected with Pedroia coming back, but what also was new was the name at the cleanup spot: Mookie Betts. And manager John Farrell told reporters why he moved Betts from leadoff to the No. 4 hole before Boston’s 2-0 win at Tropicana Field.
“As Pedey has come back to us, keeping guys in somewhat familiar spots in the lineup,” Farrell said, via WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. “And when you look at the combination, I felt like the one guy who has been in the four-hole a little bit more than others has been Mookie. If we can get on base at the rate that they’ve been, the one through three guys, try to take advantage of Mookie’s ability with men in scoring position, as he’s been so good this year … that’s the combination today.”
And having batters with the ability that Pedroia and Betts have near the heart of the order could help Boston.
“If they take their at-bats like they’ve been … there was a time last year when I met with all three — Pedey and Mookie and Bogey (Xander Bogaerts) — and Mookie was in the leadoff spot,” Farrell added, per WEEI.com. “And while all were swinging the bat very well, felt like, OK, if there’s a little bit of a realignment, do we have the potential to take advantage of some of the home runs that Mookie was providing at the time?
“It worked. We were able to be a little bit more a step ahead with some runs scored. If that takes place in this scenario, all the better. But they know they’re going to be in the lineup every day, and that’s probably the biggest thing.”
Let’s take a look at a few more notes from Red Sox-Rays.
— Blake Swihart was back at first base for the Gulf Coast League Red Sox for his second straight game Monday, as Boston tries to transition him from catcher due to lingering injury issues. He went 1-for-5 with a run in Tuesday’s game.
— In order to make room for Pedroia on the roster, Boston placed Blaine Boyer on the disabled list retroactive to Aug. 6 with a neck strain.
— Carson Smith had a strong outing for Triple-A Pawtucket as he tries to come back from Tommy John surgery.
— In other Sox prospect news, Michael Chavis is having a pretty good season.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images
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