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Pregame news from Fenway

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff  April 12, 2011 04:14 PM

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Terry Francona has tried to jam pack the lineup with as many righthanded hitters as he could find in hopes of being able to offset the very impressive lefthanded offerings of David Price.

That's why David Ortiz (2-12, .167) is sitting and Kevin Youkilis (4-10) is DHing tonight.

Jed Lowrie (2-for-8 vs. Price) is playing third base.

Mike Cameron (3-for-3 with a home run vs. Price) is in center field.

Darnell McDonald (3-for-9) is in rightfield.

With Jarrod Saltalamacchia's wife giving birth to the third child this morning at 6:23 a.m, Jason Varitek is catching and he's 1-for-2 against Price. Salty has not yet named his new daughter, who weighed in a 8 pounds, 4 ounces.

"Wanted to get about as many righthanded hitters in there as we could. We got Jed playing third and Youk DH'ing just because Jed gives us some versatility. In case something happened we could move him around the infield," Francona explained.

*Francona said he hadn't had a day-after conversation with Daisuke Matsuzaka, who was crushed for seven runs and eight hits in two innings last night.

"I didn't see him yet," Francona said. "Curt (Young) will talk to the pitchers everyday. I can't have the casual conversation with Dice. If Lackey or Lester walk into the clubhouse...can't do that with Dice except to say hello and that's frustrating. It doesn't mean he cant pitch. It's hard to have that casual conversation where you ask 'Hey what are you thinking?' Every thing has to go through a translator."

Having said that, Francona was asked if Matsuzaka has made an attempt to learn more English.

"He's done a really good job," said Francona. "It's not like Spanish-to-English and pick a word and kind of fake your way through it. This is completely different. Around the field especially, there's a lot he can understand, which really helps."

Francona said of whether there are any decisions being made for Matsuzaka: "It was a horrendous second inning. If we do things like that we'll set ourselves up for some really bad mistakes. If you make decisions based on emotion and a bad start we wouldn't have a team left. I thought he was flat and flat in the middle."

With rain threatening tomorrow night's game Francona said he has a couple of plans for the pitching rotation. Wonder if they would skip Matsuzaka?

*Francona said he hopes to give Youkilis a bit of a rest by DH'ing him and he'll also be able to focus strictly on his offense.

"That's the hope," Francona said. "This isn't something where he's going to be our DH. Like to use it to his advantage. He can swing throughout the game as much as he wants. Might be good for him. It allows us to free up Lowrie where we can move up the infield."

Francona saw encouraging things from Youkilis in the 16-5 loss. Even in a lineout for a double-play.

"I love the fact that with that lineout - when he does that - it means something is going right. You can't, as a hitter, not hit the ball that way and not have your mechanics good," Francona said.

*On Dan Wheeler, who has yielded seven runs and 10 hits over his last three outings and five hits in an inning last night. He has an 18.90 ERA. "He's elevated some balls especially to lefthander's (7-for-13 against him). That cutter has caught way too much of the plate. He had a stiff neck a couple of days ago so we stayed away from him for a while. He's not a guy who throws 95 so the margin of error sometimes is a little bit less. Unfortunately because of the scores of our games, he's probably faced batters he wouldn't ordinarily face," Francona said.

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