BOSTON -- Red Sox manager John Farrell took action regarding his slumping offense, sliding leadoff man Dustin Pedroia into the No. 6 hole while putting Xander Bogaerts at the top of the order.And in Friday's 5-4 win over the Cubs, the move paid dividends.Pedroia emerged from a recent 4-for-26 slide
BOSTON -- Red Sox manager John Farrell took action regarding his slumping offense, sliding leadoff man Dustin Pedroia into the No. 6 hole while putting Xander Bogaerts at the top of the order.
And in Friday's 5-4 win over the Cubs, the move paid dividends.
Pedroia emerged from a recent 4-for-26 slide by going 2-for-3 with a walk. Bogaerts had a hit and a walk batting leadoff.
Before Friday, the sixth slot was the only spot Pedroia hadn't batted in his career. He has spent nearly his entire career batting in the top third of the batting order.
"No, it doesn't matter," Pedroia said of lineup placement. "Just add six-hole to the list. I rake in that spot, too."
Pedroia is one of many Red Sox hitters off to a slow start this season, and he's also dealing with soreness in his left knee and ankle that recently kept him out of the lineup for three games.
"I felt good. Just getting my timing back. I felt fine," said Pedroia.
The Red Sox scored all five of their runs in the first inning against Jacob Arrieta after being shut out by Masahiro Tanaka on Thursday.
"We get a number of pitches in the strike zone and didn't miss them," said Farrell. "It was just good to see guys taking quality at-bats and not expanding the zone too much."
Prior to the game, Farrell explained his reasoning for essentially flip-flopping Pedroia and Bogaerts in the lineup.
"Obviously over the last week, we've kind of scuffled for some offense," said Farrell. "Looking for ways to get a little bit more running speed at the top of the order. Had a chance to talk to Pedey about this last night and today. So, we recognize that it's the first time he's been in the six-hole, but still as he's working to regain his timing and getting back into it, this is where we are today."
Farrell is leaving it open-ended how long he will stick with this alignment.
"I wouldn't say this was a one-day deal," said Farrell. "We'll see how it goes. The fact remains, we've got a number of guys that are capable of hitting in the top third of the order. Say what you will about the past week, we know where we are, but they have the skill-set to be almost interchangeable, and there's a number of candidates to be able to do that."
With 83 runs, the Red Sox are 12th in the American League. The Blue Jays and Royals are the only two AL teams who have scored fewer.
• Utilityman Brock Holt, who has been on the disabled list with vertigo, started a Minor League rehab assignment for Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday. He went 1-for-3 as the DH, scoring a run and driving one in. Holt will DH again on Saturday.
"And then after those two games, he'll start to get on the field," said Farrell. "He'll start initially in the outfield for five innings, and then filter in through the infield in the coming days after that. I don't have a date for his return, but there's going to be at least five games played there for Brock."
• The Red Sox made an alignment switch in the bullpen for this series against the Cubs, optioning lefty Robbie Ross Jr. to Pawtucket and recalling righty Ben Taylor. Prior to the move, Boston had three lefties in the 'pen.
"We wanted to balance out and get another right-hander," said Farrell. "With the lineups that we're facing, three left-handers is maybe not the best matchup that we can provide or best option available to us, particularly with Baltimore coming back in here [on Monday] with a predominantly right-handed lineup."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.