Crawford bats seventh, removed for defense late

Crawford bats seventh, removed for defense late

Crawford bats seventh, removed for defense late
ARLINGTON -- For the first time since his return from the disabled list, Carl Crawford batted seventh in manager Bobby Valentine's lineup instead of second.

Crawford was hitting .269 with no homers and one RBI in his first seven games of the season entering Tuesday.

Valentine said the motive behind the move was simply that the Red Sox were facing a lefty in Martin Perez.

"Put him in a place he was comfortable with last year and, you know, he has all of about 15 at-bats against left-handers this whole year," Valentine said. "Until he gets real comfortable with it, [I want to keep him lower]. I talked to Carl about it actually, and it seemed to make sense to him and it made sense to me. You know, rather than rush it, just let it come to us."

Crawford went 0-for-3 in the Red Sox's 2-1 win and has two hits in his last 19 at-bats.

In the bottom of the seventh, Daniel Nava replaced Crawford on defense, leading to speculation that perhaps he sustained an injury.

It turns out that Valentine was just making a defensive maneuver because Crawford's left elbow -- he was diagnosed with a UCL sprain in April -- is far from 100 percent.

"We were just playing defense," said Valentine. "I'm not going to test that arm in a 1-1 game where he's going to have to make a throw out of his shoes -- not until he's feeling good about it."

As for Crawford's spot in the batting order, it became a sensitive subject last season.

It was actually in Texas when former Red Sox manager Terry Francona moved Crawford from third to seventh in just the third game of the season. For the rest of 2011, Crawford went up and down in the lineup as he had the worst season of his career.

The left fielder downplayed the move for Tuesday's game against the Rangers.

"No thoughts. It's time to go play at 7 o'clock," Crawford said. "Yeah, he talked to me about it. I am where I'm at. At 7 o'clock, that's when I'm going to go play. That's pretty much it."

Valentine felt that he's had several good conversations with Crawford about lineup placement, even dating back to Spring Training.

"We've talked about it," Valentine said. "He doesn't seem to be as sensitive talking to me about it. Matter of fact, we had a plan in Spring Training where it was [presented that] he was even going to possibly hit some first. I think we talked about that in Spring Training, didn't we? There was all this talk about him never wanting to hit first, and that didn't seem to be the case at all. It's tough experimenting in July, but we'll do it."

While Crawford moved down, Pedro Ciriaco batted second and served as the designated hitter. Kelly Shoppach started behind the plate, which has most often been the case against lefties this season.