Jed Lowrie gets his second start of the season at shortstop and Jacoby Ellsbury was put in the No. 9 hole of the batting order for the Red Sox in Saturday's matinee against the Yankees at Fenway Park.
"I wanted [Scutaro] to play [Sunday] and some of the way [Ivan] Nova throws," Francona said of batting Lowrie against the Yankees starter Saturday. "I just think it's a good day to [play Lowrie] and I want [Scutaro] to play [Sunday] against [C.C.] Sabathia."
Carl Crawford was slotted as the leadoff batter for the second straight game, followed by Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz, J.D. Drew, Lowrie, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ellsbury.
"I think he's going to be confident in any spot," Francona said of Crawford. "And that's the whole idea. We don't want guys to change. We just want them to go play their game. I think when you ask guys to mold their game to a specific spot...
Terry Francona heard the news of Manny Ramirez's sudden retirement after Friday's game but declined detailed comment or reaction to the slugger's exit from the Tampa Bay Rays and Major League Baseball.
"I thought about it [Friday] night a little bit and I really don't have a comment," the Red Sox manager said before Saturday's game with the Yankees. "He's not our player. I don't know anything about it. I saw a blurb and I guess I really don't have a comment.
"It's probably something that's a little larger than baseball," Francona said, adding that he believes today's MLB PED testing is much improved. "Way better. Again, when things sort of looked like they getting out of hand in the mid-90s, I thinked the general public would be shocked in a good way how hard these guys work. I do get to see that. The younger players coming up, the testing is pretty stringent, and I think that's good."
For more Red...
One night after being shutdown offensively by the Bulls, the Celtics recovered their offensive game in a 104-88 win over the Wizards. The Celtics shot 51 percent and all five starters were in double figures led by Paul Pierce with 22 points and 12 rebounds, while Rajon Rondo added 20 points and 14 assists. Kevin Garnett also had a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
The kept building leads only to let the Wizards right back in the game. Part of the issue was a depleted bench that was already thin with the decision to sit Jermaine O'Neal for one game. That problem became worse after Delonte West was ejected by referee Josh Tiven in the first half. Rondo played 42 minutes, while Pierce checked in with 41.
The win allowed the Celtics to remain in a tie with the Heat for second place in the Eastern Conference heading into their showdown Sunday afternoon in Miami. The Heat kept pace with a win over the Bobcats. With three games...
Following the Red Sox' 9-6 win over the Yankees Friday afternoon at Fenway Park, many Sox players were talking about a speech given by general manager Theo Epstein prior to the game.
"On a scale of one to awesome, it was awesome," explained Red Sox reliever Daniel Bard. The pitcher later elaborated, "It was good. I didn't really know what to expect when he wanted to talk. But it turned out to be some good words and probably just what we needed. He's showing he still has faith in us. He has more than just the team money invested, he's emotionally invested. He wants to see us do well just as much as anybody.
"It was like Rudy, except there was no prayer at the end."
The players were originally gathered together to hear Terry Francona, but then the Red Sox manager said that Epstein wanted to say a few words.
"That was one of the best ones I've heard," said Red Sox outfielder Mike Cameron....
Celtics coach Doc Rivers decided to sit Jermaine O'Neal for Friday night's game with the Wizards. Nenad Krstic will start at center in his place. This is just a one-game rest for O'Neal who wanted to play but Rivers decided to hold him out. "We want to keep him healthy," Rivers said. "He’s played a bunch of games. We have [games] Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and he would like to play the entire week. So I thought this would be a good game for him to sit."
Rivers said he has been happy with the way O'Neal has played since his return from knee surgery, especially defensively. He also said that he would tweak his minutes slightly, by bringing him back sooner after he goes to the bench for the first time rather than have him sit for long stretches.
For more Celtics news, visit the team page at weei.com/celtics.
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