Drew leads off as Sox adjust lineup

Drew leads off as Sox adjust lineup

KANSAS CITY -- With third baseman Mike Lowell taking a scheduled night off on Monday because of the anti-inflammatory shot he took for his ailing right hip, the Red Sox had a different look to their lineup.

For the first time this season, right fielder J.D. Drew batted leadoff.

Because of Lowell's absence, Kevin Youkilis went from the No. 2 spot in the batting order to cleanup. Red Sox manager Terry Francona needed someone to substitute as a tablesetter. Enter Drew.

"I don't think too much about lineup position spots and stuff," said Drew, who walked on seven pitches in his first plate appearance. "I know Tito gets strapped sometimes a little bit, and sometimes he needs somebody to fill certain roles. I don't mind doing it at all. The only time it's a major factor is to start the game. My mindset is kind of one way: try to get on base really no matter where I'm at in the lineup."

Drew hit leadoff 14 times last year, batting .264 with two homers and eight RBIs.

As for Lowell, he received the shot for his hip on Monday and flew on his own to Kansas City. He was expected to arrive either shortly before or during the game.

The medical staff determined that Lowell isn't risking further injury by playing with the hip flexor that has bothered him for more than five weeks.

"It just hurts," said Francona.

The hope is that the shot will limit the pain for the foreseeable future.

Will Lowell return to the lineup on Tuesday night?

"He'll want to, and he may be able to," said Francona. "But what I don't want to do is do something like this that's for the benefit of the rest of the year and have him run himself right in the ground by the fifth inning. If the trainers say he's OK, which they actually think he will [be], if he needs another day, I've got no problem doing that."

Youkilis moved across the diamond to third base, while Sean Casey made the start at first.

In other news, Coco Crisp got the start in center against right-hander Gil Meche instead of the struggling Jacoby Ellsbury.

"Coco has swung the bat against this guy a little bit," Francona said. "I don't know if anyone ever said Coco wouldn't play. I think it made good sense tonight to let him play. And I thought about it a little, too."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.