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Sox's infield has new look for finale

Sox's infield has new look for finale

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BOSTON -- Even with all the injuries and changes throughout the season, the Red Sox's infield has remained relatively consistent on the lineup card each day.

That changed a little on Sunday against the Orioles, as manager Terry Francona put together a rather drastically changed setup around the horn. For the final game of the first half before the All-Star break, it's the infield -- not the outfield spots or the starting rotation -- that looks a bit out of whack.

Second baseman Dustin Pedroia remained in his regular spot, but that's where the similarities ended. Sean Casey got the nod at first base, moving Kevin Youkilis across the diamond to third.

Regular third baseman Mike Lowell served as the designated hitter against Baltimore.

"He's been a little beat up," Francona said of Lowell, noting the wear and tear of a long season makes it nice to allow rest from the field from time to time. "This is a way to maybe keep his bat in the lineup. Hopefully, he'll do something offensively to help us."

Of course, shortstop will be a revolving door between Jed Lowrie and Alex Cora over the next few weeks. With starter Julio Lugo on the 15-day disabled list with a severe left quad strain, that position will continuously change based on pitching matchups and performance circumstances.

Francona remains committed to showing both Lowrie and Cora playing time, and Cora was in the lineup batting ninth on Sunday.

As for Lugo, Francona remains tentative about how he assesses the injury. He said rest will be the main objective over the next few days.

"We almost need to give him the All-Star break ... to do nothing," Francona said. "Then, they'll start doing the things they do to help quicken the healing process. But that's not till we come back, so we'll just let him go for a few days."

Mark Remme is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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