Red Sox sit Crawford against lefty Vargas

April, 29, 2011
4/29/11
5:24
PM ET
BOSTON -- Carl Crawford, still struggling along at .160, was on the bench Friday night, replaced in the starting lineup by Darnell McDonald.

The Mariners tonight are starting a left-hander -- Jason Vargas. So manager Terry Francona said he thought it would be a good time to give Crawford a night off because the Red Sox won’t be facing another left-hander for a while.

Crawford, who signed a seven-year, $142 million contract as a free agent this past offseason, has reached base safely in 7 of his last 10 games. He is batting only .205 (8 for 39) over that stretch, which is nothing to crow about, but it does constitute some improvement.

Francona said Crawford and hitting coach Dave Magadan have been working with Crawford on getting ready sooner in the batter’s box so he can recognize pitches better, which, in theory, should result in more selective, productive at-bats.

Kevin Youkilis, who suffered a bruised left hip on a first-inning slide in Boston’s game in Baltimore Thursday night, was back in the lineup at third base Friday night for the opener of an 11-game homestand.

Youkilis was replaced in the eighth inning Thursday night.

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