Red Sox Lineup: Hanley Ramirez returns, Dustin Pedroia sits

BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 21: Hanley Ramirez
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 21: Hanley Ramirez /

Hanley Ramirez returns to the Boston Red Sox lineup for the first time this week, reclaiming his designated hitter role against the Minnesota Twins.

The Boston Red Sox will have Hanley Ramirez back in the lineup for the conclusion of their four-game set against the Minnesota Twins at Fenway Park.

Ramirez missed the first three games of the series after being hit in the knee by a pitch in Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels. He has also been plagued by shoulder issues all season that have relegated him almost exclusively to designated hitter duties. The ailment may or may not be effecting Ramirez at the plate.

The 33-year old has been a mild disappointment this year, batting .241 with a .747 OPS. His 10 home runs put him well off last year’s pace, although a Red Sox lineup starved for power needs his bat nonetheless. He’s one of only a handful of hitters on the team to crack double-digit homers and he’s sixth in RBI. Ramirez may be barely above replacement level value this season, yet Boston is still better within him than without him.

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The Twins will send right-hander Kyle Gibson to the mound tonight. He’s been one of the league’s worst starters this season with a bloated 6.23 ERA and 1.83 WHIP. One would think a struggling pitcher would be a welcome sight for a hitter like Ramirez trying to get back on track after missing a few games. That may not be the case this time, considering Ramirez is only 1-for-8 in his career against Gibson.

While Ramirez is back in the lineup, Dustin Pedroia is getting the night off. Manager John Farrell revealed that the veteran is dealing with knee soreness. It seems precautionary at this point. Pedroia is having a solid season in which he’s flirting with the .300 mark, although the ongoing knee issues may be sapping his power.

Tzu-Wei Lin gets the nod at second base, batting eighth. Andrew Benintendi returns after getting a breather last night and takes Pedroia’s spot in the No. 2 hole.

Here’s today’s Red Sox lineup behind starter David Price.

Boston needs to avenge last night’s loss in order to secure a series win and ensure they don’t lose any more ground on the New York Yankees. The Red Sox enter the night locked in a virtual tie at the top of the AL East, while Minnesota trails the Cleveland Indians by a game in the Central division.

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Will Ramirez have a triumphant return to the lineup? They can certainly use the production we know he’s capable of. Hopefully a few days off was all he needed.