Big League Stew - MLB

Ah, yes, it wouldn't officially be spring without a manager making a knee-jerk move based on an incredibly small sample size.

This year's winner? Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona, who placed Carl Crawford(notes) in the No. 7 lineup spot for Sunday's 5-1 sweep-sealing loss to the Texas Rangers.

The reason for what I assume will be a very temporary demotion for Crawford?

Having the audacity to go 0 for 7 with three strikeouts while batting third in his first two games as a Red Sock. Yeah, I know. The nerve of that guy.

It's not like a high-priced Boston slugger has ever started the season 0 for 7 and been able to come back after the media jumped on him early.

Oh wait, David Ortiz(notes) did just that in 2010.

From the Boston Globe's Extra Bases

"Looking at him, it's kind of obvious he's trying too hard," Terry Francona said. "Especially with a lefty (pitching against him) today, just kind of let him sit down there. As soon as he gets on base and can cause some havoc, he'll loosen up and the real Carl will come out. In the meantime, take a load off him."

Francona didn't explain why Crawford would feel less pressure taking his first at-bat four spots later than he normally would, but his faulty logic was rewarded.

Crawford went 2 for 4 with a RBI on the day. (Adrian Gonzalez(notes), who moved up one spot to No. 3, went 0 for 4. Kevin Youkilis(notes) went 0 for 3 from the fourth spot.)

Crawford's stay at No. 7 probably will not continue. But even if it becomes an occasional thing against lefthanded pitchers, the real story is that the Red Sox can even afford to sign a player to a seven-year, $142 million contract and bat him that low. Crawford might make an average of $20 million per season, but that doesn't change the fact they already have plenty of lefties atop the lineup.

After all, if Jacoby Ellsbury(notes) needs to lead off and Adrian Gonzalez should be batting third as the team's best hitter and David Ortiz is still designated hitting ... well, we might again see Crawford batting seventh for reasons that are quite different than the ones that see Alfonso Soriano(notes) hitting seventh for the Chicago Cubs these days.

Not a bad problem to have.

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