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Don’t read too much into that Red Sox lineup, yet

03.20.11 at 12:16 pm ET

FORT MYERS, Fla. — A quick glance at the lineup posted in the Red Sox clubhouse Sunday morning and you could draw the natural conclusion that it very well could mirror the one that will be in the visitors clubhouse on April 1 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.

But Terry Francona said the lineup consisting of Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz, J.D. Drew, Jason Varitek and Marco Scutaro wasn’t even his creation.

“We make them out three or four days ahead of time. DeMarlo [Hale] may have actually done it,” Francona said.

So, Sunday’s lineup against the Cardinals isn’t necessarily a sign that it’s going to be exactly the same on Opening Day?

“I don’t know,” Francona said. “Probably, no.”

One thing Francona did address is how important it will be to manage the speed at the top of the lineup with Ellsbury and Crawford likely to be somewhere in the top of the order to start the season and Dustin Pedroia in between.

While it might seem Francona would like to control when and how his speedsters run the bases, he realizes that he has to leave that up to the good judgment of his players.

“I don’t know if we really have to pick our spots,” Francona said Sunday. “What we care about is just not making outs. They’re going to get thrown out [stealing] and they’re going to get picked off. They have to but, again, they’re going to have the freedom to run.

“I’ve talked to Pedey because Pedey is going to be smack in the middle of those guys, I don’t want him to just sit there and take pitches, either. If Pedey is a little bit aggressive and they’re running, and Jacoby steals 65 instead of 70, what a weapon to have a guy that’s fast, a hole opening and a good hitter up. That’s a nice combination.”

Francona doesn’t want to hear about how a hitter is bothered by runners dancing off second base. That job is up to the hitter to communicate with his teammate.

“If you have a guy on second and it’s bugging the hitter, then they need to be still,” Francona said. “And that’s their responsibility to know each other. I get aggravated when somebody comes back in July and says [it’s bothering me], you should have talked about that two months ago because we encourage guys to be aggressive, they’re fast. We also encourage them to communicate with each other.”

Read More: 2011 Spring Training, Boston Red Sox, carl crawford, demarlo hale
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