Pregame notes: Gonzalez back in RF

July, 2, 2011
7/02/11
5:09
PM ET
HOUSTON -- The lineup wrinkle was made this time around with very little fanfare, unlike the soap-opera-like drama that surrounded the moves when the Red Sox left Fenway Park over a week ago on a nine-game trip to National League ballparks.

Without the use of a designated hitter in the NL parks, Boston manager Terry Francona fretted that David Ortiz, the Sox’ DH, would lose his stroke. So Francona publicly debated with himself the option of sending first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to right field to give Ortiz an opportunity to start at first base.

Finally, Francona made the move last Wednesday night in Philadelphia.

And Saturday night at Minute Maid Park, Francona opted to once again start Gonzalez in right and Ortiz at first, even though the Astros were starting a left-hander, J.A. Happ.

The hope, again, is that neither Gonzalez nor Ortiz gets hurt playing out of position, while keeping their bats alive.

But even before the game, Francona said he was pleased that Ortiz’ bat hadn’t been rotting on the bench during the trip.

“Actually I’m pretty happy. We’ve gotten through seven games and David has had nine at-bats (eight, actually). Before the trip started I thought it would be tough (to get Ortiz many at-bats).”

While Ortiz has gotten to the plate, he’s still looking for his first hit on the trip.


Ellsbury still not 100 percent
Jacoby Ellsbury still wasn’t 100 percent, but he was in the starting lineup, leading off and playing center field, one night after having to miss his first game of the season because of sickness.

“I don’t think he feels too good, but he’s good enough to play,” said Francona. “He was scuffling.”

Latest on Crawford and Buchholz
Left fielder Carl Crawford (hamstring) and pitcher Clay Buchholz (back) continue to make strides in their respective rehabs.

Crawford took batting practice on the field for the first time since suffering the injury on June 17. Francona said he was running at 70 percent. Crawford is eligible to come off the disabled list Sunday, but that isn’t expected to happen.

Buchholz played catch and the Sox will see how his back responds to that activity. Francona said he did not expect Buchholz to return to action before the All-Star break, which begins after next Sunday’s home game against the Orioles.

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