Notes: Lugo slides down to No. 9
Red Sox skipper dubs Pedroia new leadoff man for now
BOSTON -- The Red Sox rang in a six-game homestand on Tuesday night with a new-look batting order that had slumping leadoff man Julio Lugo displaced to the No. 9 slot in the order and rookie second baseman Dustin Pedroia hitting first.
The decision was not a rash one by Red Sox manager Terry Francona. Lugo has been slumping mightily of late. The shortstop went 3-for-27 on a road trip through Oakland and Arizona and entered the night with a .130 average (12-for-92) over his last 22 games.
Lugo had a professional attitude about the switch.
"I'm OK with it," Lugo said. "I just never want to hit 10th. As long as I'm in there, I don't care where."
Francona contemplated making the move last week, but he held off for a few days and discussed the move with Lugo before posting the lineup.
"With the day off [on Monday] coming off the trip, it gave me a chance to sit for a minute and talk to the players a little bit, too," Francona said. "So, it just kind of makes sense. I just told him I thought I'd try to make it a little easier on him."
Lugo, who is hitting .213 with four homers and 34 RBIs, is confident he'll snap out of his current rut.
"I don't think there's any problem," Lugo said. "I'm just going through a tough time, that's all. It's just a matter of time. I know I'm going to get it going. I'm feeling better. Some balls aren't falling. I'm going to grind it out and do my best."
And he could certainly understand Francona's reasoning.
"You're at the top of the lineup, you need to get on base consistently," Lugo said. "I understand that. If you're not getting it done and somebody else can get it done better ... do what it takes to keep winning, that's all."
Pedroia is hitting .404 over his last 29 games to raise his average to .316.
"I think he's proven that he's going to get on base," Francona said. "He's going to give you a good at-bat; he swings at strikes for the most part. He's a big part of our ballclub, and we value guys getting on base in front of the middle of our order."
Lester refining arsenal: Francona discussed the decision to option left-hander Jon Lester to Triple-A Pawtucket.
"The mentality we sort of wanted him to take was, 'Hey, force us to have you here,'" Francona said. "And that doesn't mean to go throw one [great] game. This kid went through some traumatic stuff this winter, and then he came back and had forearm cramping. And after that happened, he really cut back on his cutter and is building that back into his arsenal, which is important. We've been pretty consistent in how we've talked about this kid, and we'll continue to be."
Reunion for Dice-K: Daisuke Matsuzaka got to catch up with a familiar face before Tuesday's game. Osamu Higashio, Matsuzaka's first manager with the Seibu Lions, was in town. As a matter of fact, Higashio sat on the bench in the bullpen and watched Matsuzaka throw his side session.
Matsuzaka didn't need to get too technical about his pitching with Higashio.
"Mr. Higashio knows," Matsuzaka told members of the Japanese media. "Sometimes, I'd have to explain a lot to somebody. But he knows what's going on, what I'm trying to do."
Higashio is now a member of the media, and he was in town doing some television work.
Collector's item: With Father's Day looming on Sunday, there's a gift out there that would make any Red Sox fan smile. The Boston Sports Museum has put out a two-DVD set on the 1967 Red Sox titled, "Impossible to Forget." There are hours of vintage '67 footage in the DVD set, including game No. 161 of that magical season in its entirety. In fact, that game is the oldest complete Major League game available on color videotape.
Proceeds from the sale of the DVD set will go toward the funding of the education and exhibit departments of the Sports Museum, which is a non-profit organization. The DVD set is also available at MLB.com, as well as local convenience stores in the Greater Boston area.
On deck: Curt Schilling (6-2, 3.49 ERA), fresh off his near no-hitter, will pitch against right-hander Josh Fogg (1-5, 5.06) in the middle game of the three-game Interleague series. First pitch is scheduled on Wednesday for 7:05 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.