Sizzling Sweeney elevated to two-hole

Sizzling Sweeney elevated to two-hole

Sizzling Sweeney elevated to two-hole
BOSTON -- For all of the lineup combinations that Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine thought of and executed during Spring Training, one he never envisioned was batting Ryan Sweeney second.

But with Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury both on the disabled list, Valentine has had to adapt on the fly a bit, and Sweeney indeed batted second for Friday's series opener against the Yankees.

Dustin Pedroia, Boston's usual No. 2 hitter, batted third, with Adrian Gonzalez hitting cleanup and David Ortiz batting fifth.

Mike Aviles again took Ellsbury's leadoff spot. Sweeney has been Boston's best hitter early in the season; entering Friday's game, he was hitting .424.

"The grouping goes a little further, but obviously, Ryan's been hitting the ball and being on base as much as anyone," Valentine said. "The pitches it seems have been working for him, he might be in a more favorable position to get them.

"Mike's an aggressive hitter. At times, he's had very good at-bats, where he's extended the at-bat. I don't want to take the aggressiveness away from him. Sweeney is a very patient guy, so there's not a problem with Mike having a quick at-bat, with Sweeney coming up, and taking a pitch, not having Dustin sitting there, thinking he might be the guy to do that. So that kind of grouping works a little, I hope.

"It wasn't one of the ones I was planning in Spring Training, believe me. I had 33 games in Spring Training, and this wasn't one of the groupings I had thought about."