NEW YORK - Manager Robin Ventura gave Adam Dunn a day off in a National League park Wednesday, putting Paul Konerko back at first base. No surprise there, but slotting Conor Gillaspie in the cleanup spot did get a reaction. Starting with Gillaspie.
"Just laughter, kind of, honestly,'' said Gillaspie, a rookie with four homers in his career - 409 fewer than Dunn. "I was like, 'come on.' I don't think it changes a whole lot for me. I'm not a home run guy or whatever. It doesn't matter, we just need hits. Giving a guy a day off, so why not. I'm not hitting that great right now, either.''
That Gillaspie (.280) has been one of the Sox best hitters says a little about his good start - he was a candidate for American League Rookie of the Month honors - and a lot about the Sox' hitting futility. Ventura placed him fourth mainly because he bats left-handed. As Gillaspie said, it's not like he's on fire right now. The third baseman was 1-for-13 in his last four games.
"That's more just splitting lefties and making sure you don't have a lot of righties in a row,'' Ventura said. "Balance it out at some point. He's the guy to go right there."
Alexei Ramirez was moved to second in the order, a spot he prefers over sixth or seventh. Ramirez has the second highest average among Sox regulars.
"I really like it and I'm happy I get to hit in that spot,'' Ramirez said. "I'll benefit from hitting with De Aza on base and I have a chance to score more runs with the middle of the lineup behind me.''
Ventura said Ramirez would likely move back down "unless for some reason he goes 5-for-5 and we get nine runs,'' Ventura said.
Ramirez has not homered since the second game of the season. He can't explain the power outage, although he felt like he had a homer taken away by umpires in Kansas City.
"I don't know why but I know there is a lot of season left,'' Ramirez said.
"I feel good at the plate but I'm not satisfied,'' Ramirez said. "More than anything I'm not satisified with losing games. It's painful. Very much so. There were a lot of games we could have won but we have to move on.''