Barring a last-minute change of heart, the Red Sox will probably go with the following order: Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Victor Martinez, Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz, J.D. Drew, Adrian Beltre, Mike Cameron and Marco Scutaro.
Francona's only hesitation with that order is that lefties Ortiz and Drew are stacked together, and the final three hitters in the lineup are all right-handed. At the same time, he thinks it's probably the best fit for his team.
"What we're going to do, it may not be perfect as far as balance goes, but I think that it's probably the best way to start the year," Francona said. "I'm probably still in Spring Training mode now. When I start getting [scouting reports and matchups] and stuff, that's when that clicks over. But it probably makes sense early to do it like that. We'll see."