KANSAS CITY -- With left-hander Bruce Chen on the mound for the Royals, the opportunity arose for Red Sox manager John Farrell to give veteran David Ortiz a night off.
Farrell went with Jonny Gomes in the cleanup slot and Stephen Drew hitting fifth on Thursday night at Kauffman Stadium. Mike Napoli was in the No. 6 slot as the designated hitter.
"We're just trying to take advantage of the momentum that Gomes and Drew have had of late," Farrell said.
Farrell talked with Napoli after batting practice on Wednesday in Houston, and lineup alterations were discussed. Napoli opened Thursday's game having hit just .200 since July 20.
"He's on board with all of it," Farrell said. "That's why he's in the No. 6 hole today. We've got guys who are good players to go to. The depth of the bench allows us to do some things. To Mike's credit, it's about whatever we have to do to win tonight. He's the ultimate team player. Mike and I both recognize that he is going through a stretch here where he has been grinding. Hopefully, moving him out a slot gives him a little breather."
Farrell stressed that the night off for Ortiz was not injury related.
"It's just a day for him," Farrell said. "He's in a good place overall physically. We probably expected him to have more off-days up to now. So, we're clearly in positive territory with David."
Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less