Francona: Youkilis, Drew to hit Friday

September, 21, 2011
9/21/11
5:03
PM ET
BOSTON -- Red Sox manager Terry Francona told reporters Wednesday that third baseman Kevin Youkilis (hip/groin) and right fielder J.D. Drew (finger) will both attempt to hit on Friday in New York.

With the absence of Youkilis from the cleanup spot in the order, Francona has been forced to tweak his lineup a bit, and he made another adjustment for the series finale against the Baltimore Orioles by putting Dustin Pedroia in the No. 5 spot and having Mike Aviles bat second.

“We’re missing Youk, and the way Aviles is swinging so well right now we’ll hit him second, he can run a little bit and he’s hot,” Francona explained. “We’ll let Pedey protect David [Ortiz] and Adrian [Gonzalez].”

Francona talked to Pedroia beforehand to make sure the second baseman was comfortable with the move.

“I think it sets up well and puts us in the best position,” Francona said.

With the exception of fifth or sixth, Pedroia has hit in every other spot in the order.

“Pedey’s not being demoted,” Francona said with a smile. “He likes to hit at the top of the order and I actually like him there because he has a chance to hit one more time, but he can hit anywhere.”

Joe McDonald

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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