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04/28/10 8:00 PM ET

Pedroia finds comfort level in two-hole

Second baseman encountered mini slump with batting third

TORONTO -- Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia has begun to percolate hitting second in the Red Sox's lineup after struggling in the third spot.

Entering Wednesday's game at Rogers Centre, Pedroia was batting .371 with five homers and 15 RBIs in 62 at-bats from the No. 2 spot, where he was for the series finale against the Blue Jays. But in a brief trial as the No. 3 hitter, he hit .091 with no RBIs in 22 at-bats.

"It was kind of tough timing," Pedroia said. "[Manager Terry Francona] moved me into the third spot and I went into a little funk, and then he put me back into [the] second [spot] and I started swinging the bat better.

"It doesn't have anything to do [with the spot in the order]. Guys go through four or five games of tough times."

When the Red Sox were recently struggling, Pedroia admits that the players, including himself, were putting too much pressure on themselves.

"We went through that time when we weren't swinging the bat well and weren't playing well, and everybody wanted to be the guy to help [the team] come out of it," said Pedroia. "When that stuff happens, you may as well take a step back and relax and try less. That's better."

Pedroia agreed that it was easier said than done, "especially for the guys we have. We have guys that care."

Slumping Papi out of lineup vs. left-hander

TORONTO -- With the Red Sox facing Blue Jays left-hander Brett Cecil in Wednesday night's series finale, the slumping David Ortiz was not in Boston's starting lineup and the switch-hitting Victor Martinez served as the club's designated hitter.

Mike Lowell, who batted for Ortiz in the eighth inning on Tuesday and drew a bases-loaded walk that scored the winning run, was also on the bench. It was the second time in a week the struggling Ortiz has been lifted for a pinch-hitter.

"We pinch-hit for him and we won the game," manager Terry Francona said before Wednesday's game at Rogers Centre. "I thought that's what we were trying to do. Other than that, I really don't know what to say.

"You talk about guys rebounding -- when you pinch-hit for somebody, it doesn't mean their career's over. You're just trying to win the game. I really wanted to get Lowell in [tonight's lineup, but I didn't put him in the lineup]. I wanted [Jason Varitek] to catch."

Ortiz hit his first home run of the season last year on May 20 against Cecil. Francona said he has seen some improvements in Ortiz.

"It's not an indictment," Francona said. "We're trying to win. Sometimes the bench you have determines what you do. We're trying to do what we think is right for our ballclub."

Buchholz's strong outing inspires Beckett

TORONTO -- Clay Buchholz not only saved the Red Sox's taxed bullpen on Tuesday by allowing just one run on seven hits over eight innings in a 2-1 victory over the Blue Jays, but he provided a lift in other ways.

"A start like last night makes you feel a lot better about things," manager Terry Francona said before Wednesday's game against the Blue Jays.

For instance, a good side session on Wednesday by Josh Beckett, who is 1-0 with 7.22 ERA, offered hope.

"Josh went out and had a good side [session] today," Francona said. "That's why in the midst of all the panic in Boston, we know that he'll figure it out.

"He'll get some help with [pitching coach] John Farrell. He's too good not to. He's been through this before. He'll be OK. You look at names like [John] Lackey and [Jon] Lester, as long as they're healthy, we need to keep running them out there. They'll figure it out."

Larry Millson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.