Red Sox drop Carl Crawford to 7th

Updated: April 18, 2011, 2:23 PM ET
By Steven Krasner | Special to ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- Manager Terry Francona massaged his batting order yet again.

Monday's Boston Red Sox lineup featured J.D. Drew hitting in the leadoff spot, while struggling left fielder Carl Crawford was dropped by Francona to seventh in the order.

Crawford began the day batting a woeful .127 and has been pressing badly (he had a RBI double in four at-bats in Monday's 9-1 victory over Toronto). Francona thought batting Crawford seventh might take a little pressure off of a player who signed a seven-year, $142 million contract in the offseason.

"Right now he's having a tough time, and when you're leading off it gets magnified," Francona said early Monday. "Moving him down should help him. If he doesn't get hits it should lessen the burden."

Francona elected to keep several left-handed hitters in the lineup for Monday's Patriots' Day game even though the Blue Jays are throwing a left-hander, Ricky Romero. That's because the matchups against Romero are favorable -- Drew (.450, 9 for 20 with one home run) and Jacoby Ellsbury (.417, 5 for 12) have hit him well. They have been replaced by Mike Cameron and Darnell McDonald in a few games against lefties this year, but not Monday.

Jason Varitek, meanwhile, will be at catcher for the second time in three games. The veteran captain will have the task of helping Daisuke Matsuzaka bounce back from a horrendous seven-run, eight-hit, two-plus-inning outing in his previous start.

Steven Krasner is a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com.

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