Notes: Drew gets some rest
Pedroia shrugs off Rodriguez's slide; Beckett throws
NEW YORK -- Chalk up Wednesday night as more of a mental break for right fielder J.D. Drew than a physical one. Drew has been slumping mightily of late, so manager Terry Francona saw no downside in putting Wily Mo Pena in right field with left-hander Andy Pettitte pitching for the Yankees.
"[Bench coach Brad Mills] checked with him after the game because he's really swung the bat pretty well against Pettitte," said Francona. "We wanted him to know if he wanted the day to go work with [hitting coach Dave Magadan] and take a little bit of a mental-health day, that's OK. J.D. has been working so consistently with Mags, and I think, every once in a while, taking a deep breath might do him some good. Especially if he feels that way."
Drew broke out to a red-hot start before taking a sharp dip. He is hitless in his last 10 at-bats, and is 3-for-22 over his last six games. But the slump goes back longer than that. Drew is hitting .161 over a 25-game span, and his average has gone from .375 to .237.
Before taking an 0-for-4 on Tuesday, Drew admitted that slumps can be tough on the mind.
"At this level, you can easily outthink yourself," Drew said. "There's a tendency a lot of times, when things are going bad and you're scuffling, you can outthink the game sometimes and make the game a lot more difficult than it really is. You've got a lot of guys trying to get you out. You don't need to be one of those guys yourself."
The Red Sox also like to get Pena in the lineup as much as possible.
"Wily Mo, we'll send him in there, and maybe he'll run into one of those cutters and hit it a long way," Francona said.
Thanks to an off-day on Thursday, Drew will actually have two full days of rest before getting back in the lineup on Friday. And when he does return, he'll be back in his customary No. 5 spot in the order.
"J.D. is going to get hot," Francona said. "I don't want to do something and have him get hot and have him be in the eight-hole. Mike Lowell is kind of a creature of habit, and he's really fine where he is. I think you can do some manipulating sometimes and maybe mess up. Just let the players play, and they get to their level. We just need to be patient."
Pedroia lets it slide: If it wasn't Alex Rodriguez, if it wasn't Yankee Stadium, if it wasn't Red Sox-Yankees, you probably would have heard precious little about Dustin Pedroia being elbowed while missing a double-play attempt in the eighth inning on Tuesday night.
But when it comes to A-Rod and the Red Sox, there always seems to be something.
"It doesn't bother me," said Pedroia. "I've been in the league three months. He's probably the best player in the baseball. So it's not like I can sit here and say how he should slide into second base or whatever."
Still, Pedroia didn't like being elbowed. According to A-Rod, it was accidental.
"I tried to go in hard and clean," said Rodriguez. "But the slide was a little awkward. He used the bag very well for protection. As I hit the bag, I just kind of jumped up a little bit. It was [Jorge] Posada running, so he needed all the help he could get."
In July 2004, A-Rod brawled with catcher Jason Varitek after being hit by a pitch. Three months after that, Rodriguez slapped the ball out of Bronson Arroyo's hand while trying to beat out a ground ball.
A-Rod insisted that there was nothing personal with Tuesday's slide and elbow.
"I like Pedroia," Rodriguez said. "I have a lot of respect for those guys over there. Every run for us is huge, and I'm not just going to go in there like a little baby doll and try to hug him. I have a lot of respect for him, but I'm trying to play hard. By any means, it was not intentional."
Beckett simulates a start: Right-hander Josh Beckett worked up a good sweat on Wednesday for someone who is on the disabled list. Recovering from an avulsion on his right middle finger, Beckett simulated five innings in the bullpen and pronounced himself fit for his start at Fenway against the Indians on Tuesday.
Beckett gave the finger a test by taking the bandage off while he played long-toss. He did keep the finger covered during the bullpen session, something he always does between starts.
"It ended up being 120 pitches-130 pitches total, after I threw my warmup and my five innings," said Beckett.
Timlin turns corner: Righty setup man Mike Timlin appears to be in the final stages of his battle back from shoulder tendinitis. For the second time in three days, he threw off the bullpen mound.
Timlin, who was placed on the disabled list on May 3, will pitch at Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday.
On deck: Following a day off on Thursday, the Sox open a three-game series in Texas on Friday with Daisuke Matsuzaka (6-2, 4.06 ERA) facing Brandon McCarthy (4-4, 5.82). First pitch will be at 8:05 p.m. ET.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.