Crawford, Gonzalez make home debuts

April, 8, 2011
BOSTON -- Red Sox manager Terry Francona decided on the flight home Thursday from Cleveland that he wanted to give Carl Crawford a shot in the leadoff spot of the batting order to try to spark the offense.

The speedy newcomer went 0-for-5 and is now 4-for-28 (.143) this season with the Red Sox.

The last time Crawford hit leadoff was the first seven games of the 2007 season with the Tampa Bay Rays. During that stretch, he hit .250 with five runs scored and was caught stealing on three of four attempts.

[+] EnlargeAdrian Gonzalez
AP Photo/Elise AmendolaAdrian Gonzalez got acquianted with his new surroundings after the game.
After Boston posted its first victory of the season, a 9-6 win over the New York Yankees on Friday at Fenway Park, Crawford said he’s not worried about his slump.

“I’m pretty confident no matter what,” Crawford said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever had a rocky start like this, but even if I have, I still have confidence in myself.”

Fellow newcomer Adrian Gonzalez was also shifted in the order because Francona wanted him hitting third to get more at-bats. The slugging first baseman went 2-for-5 with a pair of RBIs and a run scored.

“It’s good knowing you’re going to come up to the plate with a lot more RBI opportunities and a lot more times with runners on base,” Gonzalez said. “And I’ll score more runs. It’s great all around.”

Gonzalez has played a total of 864 career games, but Friday was his first at Fenway Park. After the game, he was more focused on the inspirational talk Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein gave the team following batting practice.

"That talk was needed," Gonzalez said. "He did a great job with it. He's a figure that people listen to, and so when it comes from a guy like that, you want to go out there and play hard for him and for the entire organization and the city of Boston."

After showering up and long after fans left after the game, Gonzalez emerged from the dugout wearing street clothes and took a stroll around Fenway Park, getting the lay of the land in his new home.

Joe McDonald

ESPN Staff Writer



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