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Crawford sits with a stiff neck

By Nick Cafardo
Globe Staff / September 20, 2011

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Carl Crawford was a late scratch from the Red Sox lineup before Game 1 of yesterday’s doubleheader against the Orioles at Fenway Park and did not play in Game 2 because of a stiff neck.

The injury came a day after Crawford did not start against Tampa Bay, although he hit a pinch double in the eighth inning off lefty J.P. Howell. He was left out of the starting lineup because of his 0-for-9 history vs. former teammate David Price.

Manager Terry Francona said Crawford hurt himself on his first swing in the batting cage yesterday. He was originally in the lineup batting sixth, but Darnell McDonald took his place when he was scratched. McDonald lost two balls in the sun in left field in the third inning, which led to two runs in a 6-5 Orioles Game 1 win.

Conor Jackson made a great catch in left field and hit a grand slam in the second game.

Francona said Crawford, who was not available to the media between games, is day-to-day.

Scutaro wants to stay Marco Scutaro wants to remain a Red Sox, even though he’s a free agent and could get a multiyear offer to play shortstop or second base. Scutaro went 3 for 3 in Game 1 and 3 for 5 in Game 2, improving his average to .298. He has six homers and 51 RBIs.

Scutaro, one of the toughest players on the team who always plays through injuries, isn’t taking his hot streak of late for granted.

“In ’09 [with Toronto], I was hitting .295 on Sept. 1,’’ said Scutaro. “I remember going to Texas [and New York], and I went like 0 for 20. It’s trying to be consistent day in and day out. Especially as a hitter. Your swing isn’t there every day.

“I’ve been swinging the bat good since KC, fortunately. I just try stay short [with his swing] and hit line drives.’’

Scutaro is hitting .422 with 18 RBIs in 18 September games.

A pitch by Ortiz It’s been nearly three months since Alfredo Aceves made his fourth and most recent start of the season for the Sox, earning a no-decision against San Diego in a game the Sox lost, 5-4.

With eight games left, maybe it’s time to give Aceves another start, considering how well he’s been pitching and how desperate the Sox are for quality outings.

David Ortiz threw his support behind such a move.

“To be honest with you, the way things are going, he should be starting. It’s as simple as that,’’ Ortiz said following Game 1. “Give it a shot. He’s got good stuff, man.

“I think at some point, he might be a starter. It all depends what the front office decides, but he’s got good stuff, and we definitely need a guy that can come in and give us six or seven good innings. He seems like he’s capable to do it. We’ll see.’’

Aceves pitched three scoreless innings in relief in the first game, striking out four. It marked the 12th time that he’s gone at least three innings in relief this season, which leads the majors. It was also his fourth straight scoreless appearance, pushing his streak to seven innings without allowing a run.

Slow going on Buchholz There’s some sentiment in the Sox organization that the team is moving a little too slowly with Clay Buchholz, who is scheduled to throw 30 pitches in a two-inning simulated game today. Buchholz has been cleared medically for some time, but is being handled very conservatively . . . Kevin Youkilis worked out but felt sore afterward. The third baseman could play again this season if he can tolerate his hernia . . . J.D. Drew received a cortisone injection in his fractured middle finger and may soon accelerate his rehab . . . Jed Lowrie was in the lineup in Game 2 after missing six games with a sore shoulder (for which he had a cortisone shot) and went 2 for 5 with three runs and four RBIs. Lowrie came up in the first inning with runners at second and third and two outs and homered on a 3-and-2 pitch from lefthander Brian Matusz to give the Sox a 4-3 lead . . . The Sox will be closely monitoring Erik Bedard in his start tonight. Bedard has been nursing a lat strain after missing a start with a sore left knee. Bedard is also pitching for a contract for next season. It’s not known whether the Sox have interest in re-signing him . . . Dan Wheeler hasn’t pitched since Sept. 7 because he has been nursing a forearm strain . . . Adrian Gonzalez reached the 200-hit mark after a two-hit Game 1, the first Red Sox to achieve that total since Dustin Pedroia in 2008.

Michael Whitmer of the Globe staff contributed to this report; Nick Cafardo can be reached at cafardo@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @nickcafardo.

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