07/28/07 8:11 PM ET
Notes: Pedroia won't rest long
Second sacker should play Sunday; Ortiz benefits from time off
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
"I'll be in there [Sunday]," said Pedroia. "Dove for a ball the other day and hurt my [right] side a little bit. That's pretty much it. I've had some treatment on it, I'll be in there tomorrow."
Pedroia also was hit on the left side by Fausto Carmona on Wednesday night, but he said that had little to do with his absence form the lineup.
"No, that was on the other side," said Pedroia. "It was when I made a play on [Travis] Hafner, and the next day I made a play on [Casey] Blake and landed on my ribs kind of awkwardly."
His main motivation for taking a precautionary second day off was to avoid further injury.
"Didn't want to do anything [more]," said Pedroia. "I'll be fine."
With the reliable Alex Cora available in reserve, Francona saw no reason to rush Pedroia back.
"He's sore. He's not hurting, he's just sore," Francona said. "We'll take advantage of one more night. We talked to him after the game. He certainly can play. I just think it makes sense sometimes to not do it."
Youk slides back into second: Pedroia's absence from the lineup the past two days has enabled Kevin Youkilis to bat second, where he was a force earlier this season.
Youkilis entered the night hitting .347 with eight homers and 28 RBIs in 176 at-bats in the No. 2 hole. The spot where he's spent the second most time is No. 5, where Youkilis is a .217 hitter with no homers and 12 RBIs in 115 at-bats.
"I'm aware of that," Francona said. "I don't know how to explain that. I think when a guy gets hot, you see that so often, and you move to a spot in the order of more responsibility, then he gets cold. Well, if the guy was hitting .380, he's probably going to get down to .330 eventually."
Francona still views Youkilis as one of those hitters who can excel in any part of the lineup.
"Build your lineup how you think it will work and let him play," Francona said. "And again, we got forced into it a little bit. J.D. [Drew] was hurting and scuffling. Right when Youk got to that part [where he was switched to fifth], he was right at the top of the league in everything. He just kind of came down to earth a little bit, and it was right at the time he was in the five-hole. I don't think he couldn't handle hitting fifth or he was trying to do too much. That's just the way the game goes."
Ortiz makes a run for it: David Ortiz has had no setbacks since returning to the lineup on Wednesday night following four games off with a left shoulder strain. If anything, the break might have done some good for Ortiz's ailing right knee, which has a torn meniscus that he's played through all year.
In Friday night's game, Ortiz raced from first to third on a single to right by Manny Ramirez, putting himself in position to score on Drew's base hit.
"That's some good baserunning last night. He sets up the inning for J.D. to hit with the hole open," said Francona. "We get torn. Baserunning is important. Having him around is important. He tries to pick his spots, I think, which is good. I know he takes a lot of pride in being able to do that."
Clement has a good day: Right-hander Matt Clement, who might make a couple of relief appearances in September, continues to make progress in his recovery from labrum and rotator cuff surgery.
Clement has been doing the bulk of his throwing in Fort Myers, but he met up with the Red Sox this weekend and threw a side session on Saturday.
"I think he said today was the first time he's felt like a pitcher in a long time, so I'm sure that was exciting for him," Francona said.
Monday will be another forward step for Clement when he throws sliders for the first time.
"It was a step in the progression of this whole rehab," Clement said of Saturday's work. "I'm at the point, where over the last three weeks, I've been allowed to let it go and turn the intensity up. Today was the progression of going from day one of those three weeks to today, for when I threw it, I didn't feel like anything was holding me back."
Slow going for Donnelly: Francona still isn't sure when righty reliever Brendan Donnelly will be able to go from playing catch to throwing off a mound. The last time Donnelly tried to pitch from the mound was July 13, in what was supposed to be a rehab appearance for Class A Lowell. But he experienced recurring tightness in his forearm that night, which basically forced him to restart his program from square one.
"He went out yesterday and just had a so-so day," Francona said. "I don't know. They're kind of trying to put their heads together to see what's in his best interest. The hardest thing is trying to see how much you can give him without going too far. That's not always the easiest thing to do. There's a lot of violence in that delivery. When he throws it, he throws it [with force]. We're trying to get that figured out."
On deck: The Red Sox send Daisuke Matsuzaka (12-7, 3.79 ERA) to the mound for Sunday's finale of this three-game series. He'll be opposed by left-hander Scott Kazmir (7-7, 4.02 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 1:40 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.