Red Sox will play Adrian Gonzalez in outfield, David Ortiz at first

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Wednesday’s the day, according to the Boston Herald’s John Tomase.

With John Lackey on the mound, the Red Sox intend to start David Ortiz at first base and Adrian Gonzalez in the outfield in Wednesday’s game against the Phillies.

Tomase didn’t say which outfield position Gonzalez would play.  Left field would make more sense, given the Phillies’ reliance on left-handed hitters.

There’s really no chance the Red Sox would be trying this if their schedule didn’t have them playing nine straight games in NL parks.  A week and a half is just too long to have to limit Ortiz to pinch-hitting appearances.  The alignment switch Wednesday is as much about keeping him sharp as it is about trying to win a baseball game.

Because it’s pretty hard to imagine that the Red Sox are really better off taking such big defensive downgrades at two positions in order to make room for Ortiz.

Anyway, it should be entertaining.  Just in case there wasn’t already enough reason to watch what are arguably the two best teams in baseball face off.

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.