Notes: Drew ready to bust out
Outfielder believes he's found stroke to increase production
CLEVELAND -- Yes, J.D. Drew knows that his production -- six homers and 37 RBIs entering Monday action -- is way below what everyone expects, including himself. But he also thinks he has a remedy that will change things in a matter of time.
Drew has found his stroke -- the one he had all throughout Spring Training and the first couple of weeks of the season.
"I don't want to change a whole lot because I feel pretty good," said Drew. "I feel like I'm taking a good path to the ball and hitting the ball well. I want to kind of keep it the same way. Things kind of all add up.
"I think I've kind of felt a plane that I feel good with. The swing feels really good. I felt good really early on, and after that I went though a two-month skid right there where I couldn't hit anything. It definitely feels good to square the ball up. Just a lot of times you're looking for the result vs. what's really happening."
What really happened Friday night was that Drew hit a three-run homer into the Monster seats that got turned into an RBI double because the umpiring crew didn't see that the ball hit the ledge above the Green Monster instead of the wall itself. And in Drew's second at-bat that night, he belted a 415-foot out to the deepest area of Fenway Park.
Sunday? With two men on, Drew unloaded for a shot that seemed to have three-run homer written all over it. But the ball got caught in a gusting wind and was knocked right down for a flyout to right in front of the 380-foot mark.
What Drew wants to change more than anything right now is his luck.
"Every guy knows what his numbers are," said Drew. "I've had some good at-bats where the ball didn't do what I wanted. Hard line drives, deep flyballs, I'm hitting balls good. Just not a lot to show for it. Sooner or later, a bunch of cheap ones are going to fall in."
Drew, who missed time last week because of recurring tightness in his right hamstring, said that he's holding up OK from a physical standpoint.
"Not bad, it's not exactly where I want it to be, but it's manageable," Drew said. "As long as it doesn't blow out, it will be fine."
Ortiz shoots for Wednesday: Sox slugger David Ortiz was out of the lineup for the fourth day in a row with a strained left shoulder. Big Papi hopes to take batting practice on Tuesday and be back in the lineup by Wednesday.
"I still have a little pain today but it's getting better," Ortiz said. "I've got to hit on the field tomorrow and see how it feels and go from there. If I'm fine, I'll play. I always play sore anyway."
One thing is clear, however. Ortiz's shoulder is in far better shape than he thought it was after the ill-fated dive into second.
"When I went down at second, I thought I wasn't going to play this year again," Ortiz said. "That's how bad it felt. [The trainers] know pretty much how to deal with it. They told me [at the time], tomorrow it's going to be really sore so don't worry about it. There's a little bit of fluid, I have a little bit of therapy. Every day I wake up, I feel a little better."
Coco back up top: Red Sox manager Terry Francona continues to switch up his leadoff hitter. After reinstating Julio Lugo in that spot the previous two games, Francona had Coco Crisp hitting first on Monday night. Lugo batted ninth.
"Trying to get balance," said Francona. "Depending on who we have available, when we face lefties, I think Lugo might lead off for now."
Francona also noted the difference in Lugo's on-base percentage against lefties and righties. Against lefties, Lugo came into the night with a .382 OBP vs. lefties compared to .257 against righties.
"We may just have to mix and match when guys like David aren't in the lineup and we're making some changes," said Francona.
Cutting loose Pineiro: The Red Sox officially designated right-hander Joel Pineiro for assignment to make room for left-hander Jon Lester on the roster.
"It wasn't a very fun decision," Francona said. "Sometimes you have to make difficult decisions based on how your bullpen is set up. I think we have some right-handed arms now with [Julian] Tavarez being out there. It was a difficult move we felt like we needed to make."
The Red Sox signed Pineiro to a one-year, $4 million contract in the winter. But the righty couldn't find the consistency the team was looking for. Pineiro went 1-1 with a 5.03 ERA in 31 appearances. The Red Sox have 10 days to either trade or release Pineiro.
On deck: Right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka (11-7, 3.99 ERA) will face southpaw C.C. Sabathia (13-4, 3.81 ERA) in an intriguing pitching matchup on Tuesday night. First pitch is scheduled 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.