ST. PETERSURG -- Another night, another new look to the top portion of Boston's batting order.
Manager John Farrell acknowledges he'd rather have stability, but the lack of production in recent days has left him searching for the right combination.
Friday night's lineup had Brock Holt leading off, followed by red-hot rookie shortstop Xander Bogaerts, and then Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz and Mike Napoli filling the third, fourth and fifth spots.
Holt did lead off one game earlier in the season. The key to the switch was getting Bogaerts in the upper half of the lineup.
"I think over the nearly 150 plate appearances he's had to date, his comfort level and his confidence continues to climb," said Farrell. "And this is a position in the lineup he's been very much accustomed to throughout his Minor League career. I know he's looking forward to the opportunity to be in that spot."
Pedroia had batted mostly first and second this season. Ortiz and Napoli have mainly batted third and fourth.
"It allows us to lengthen out the lineup with Nap down in the five hole, as he was there the majority of last year, and just looking for that added length in the lineup," said Farrell. "And really just being able to grind out at-bats and drive up pitch counts, which has really been the identity and the trademark of this team. It does run counter to the intent to try to create a lot of continuity, and that has been hard and frustrating to get to because of some of the inconsistencies we've experienced."
Farrell said that against lefties, Bogaerts could lead off with Shane Victorino batting second.
"That's a possibility, sure," said Farrell. "Vic's strong side is against a left-handed pitcher and we still want that athleticism at the top of the order as much as we can. So we may see Vic in the two-hole with Xander in the leadoff spot against a left-hander."
Drew could make Sox season debut June 2
ST. PETERSBURG -- Stephen Drew took another step toward getting back in the lineup for the Red Sox, starting at shortstop for Class A Greenville on Friday night.
After re-signing Drew earlier this week, the Red Sox had to place him on their 25-man roster on Wednesday, where he stayed for two days, but didn't play.
To get him down to the Minor Leagues, the Red Sox first had to get him through waivers, which Drew cleared on Friday at noon ET. Once he cleared waivers, he was optioned to Greenville.
Drew will play for Greenville for four days, playing twice at short, once at designated hitter and probably getting a day off. On Friday, he played five innings, going 1-for-2 with a single and a strikeout.
He will then move up to Double-A Portland or Triple-A Pawtucket.
Drew needs to stay in the Minor Leagues for 10 days before he can be recalled by the Red Sox, due to option rules.
The earliest Drew will debut for Boston is June 2, when the Red Sox open a three-game series in Cleveland.
"He'll go seven innings probably two or three times," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "We have a minimum of 10 days to execute the plan that's laid out with the target of 20 to 25 at-bats or so to be had. That's where we are."
With Drew vacating a roster spot, the Red Sox recalled right-hander Alex Wilson from Triple-A Pawtucket for the second time this season.
Wilson will fill a spot in the bullpen for the next two days and probably be sent down on Sunday, when Boston needs a starting pitcher to replace Felix Doubront, who is on the disabled list.
Farrell reiterated that Brandon Workman and Allen Webster are the top two candidates to make that start.
Doubront thinks he can make speedy return
ST. PETERSBURG -- Considering the way Felix Doubront felt during his start on Tuesday night, he's very relieved about the progress he's made in recent days.
The Red Sox lefty, who is on the disabled list with a left shoulder strain, will start playing catch on Saturday.
"I was worried because I wasn't feeling my shoulder the day I was pitching," said Doubront.
Doubront thinks the cause of the injury was bumping his shoulder into his car while he was trying to get one of his kids into the back seat.
"I hit the car door getting in," Doubront said. "It was just something that happened. I hit it hard but I wasn't thinking of that. I came in the next day, I was feeling a little weird and the next day I was pitching. It's crazy, but thank God it's nothing major."
In a perfect world, Doubront will miss just two starts.
"He threw flat ground light catch today and he'll be in the early stages of that," said manager John Farrell. "That won't rapidly pick up, but the encouraging thing is there are no restrictions for the range of motion. He's nowhere near game speed obviously, so that will be the tell-tale sign. Once we get him back to the mound and start to ask him to increase the overall intensity, then we'll get a better read."