Youk back in the fold; Lowell sits
For the first time since Game 1 of Sunday’s day-night doubleheader against the Rays, Red Sox manager Terry Francona produced a lineup on Friday night that included Kevin Youkilis.
The corner infielder, bothered by back spasms all week, was sufficiently recovered enough to return to his customary cleanup spot. Youkilis got the start at third base for the opener of a three-game series at Camden Yards.
“Yeah, he feels pretty good. Good enough where there were no qualms about playing him,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona.
Mike Lowell got the night off but it was not for health reasons. Lowell is hitting .174 lifetime against Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie with one homer and seven RBIs. Casey Kotchman, who started at first place, effectively taking Lowell’s spot in the lineup, is a .429 hitter against Guthrie in a small sample size (3-for-7) with one homer and three RBIs But the move was basically to keep Lowell fresh.
“Not so much matchup because I think Mike is a good hitter,” Francona said. “He played three days in a row. We traveled last night. I wanted to get Kotch enough at-bats where he could help us.”
– Ian Browne