Interleague road trips mean loss of Papi's bat

Interleague road trips mean loss of Papi's bat

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Red Sox will embark on a nine-game road trip at the end of June against three National League teams, which leaves manager Terry Francona in a tough position.

When Boston travels to take on Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Houston consecutively, the Red Sox will lose the designated hitter position, leaving David Ortiz in an odd position.

Ortiz usually lines up at first base during Interleague games, but Adrian Gonzalez is currently holding that spot down, leading the Major Leagues with a .347 batting average and 60 RBIs.

"This is hard," Francona said. "This is unfair. We're going to go nine straight days. In the past, we had [Mike] Lowell, we had [Kevin Youkilis], we had [Ortiz]. It was obvious -- each guy plays two. It was real easy. Right now, it's not so obvious."

The last time Boston played nine consecutive games in a National League park came in 2002, when it took on the Braves, Padres and Dodgers. The Red Sox also went on a similar trip in '00.