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Bogaerts moves to two-hole, Holt leads off

Bogaerts moves to two-hole, Holt leads off

ST. PETERSURG -- Another night, another new look to the top portion of Boston's batting order.

Manager John Farrell acknowledges he'd rather have stability, but the lack of production in recent days has left him searching for the right combination.

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Friday night's lineup had Brock Holt leading off, followed by red-hot rookie shortstop Xander Bogaerts, and then Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz and Mike Napoli filling the third, fourth and fifth spots.

Holt did lead off one game earlier in the season. The key to the switch was getting Bogaerts in the upper half of the lineup.

"I think over the nearly 150 plate appearances he's had to date, his comfort level and his confidence continues to climb," said Farrell. "And this is a position in the lineup he's been very much accustomed to throughout his Minor League career. I know he's looking forward to the opportunity to be in that spot."

Pedroia had batted mostly first and second this season. Ortiz and Napoli have mainly batted third and fourth.

"It allows us to lengthen out the lineup with Nap down in the five hole, as he was there the majority of last year, and just looking for that added length in the lineup," said Farrell. "And really just being able to grind out at-bats and drive up pitch counts, which has really been the identity and the trademark of this team. It does run counter to the intent to try to create a lot of continuity, and that has been hard and frustrating to get to because of some of the inconsistencies we've experienced."

Farrell said that against lefties, Bogaerts could lead off with Shane Victorino batting second.

"That's a possibility, sure," said Farrell. "Vic's strong side is against a left-handed pitcher and we still want that athleticism at the top of the order as much as we can. So we may see Vic in the two-hole with Xander in the leadoff spot against a left-hander."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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