One problem: The Red Sox already have a successful No. 2 hitter -- Dustin Pedroia.
Over the season's first 10 games, Crawford has batted in four spots in the batting order. In the series opener against his former team Monday night, Crawford batted leadoff for a fourth consecutive game.
"In a perfect world, with what I know, I would go two, three, one," Maddon said when asked where Crawford would fit best in the Red Sox lineup. "And I'm just talking about his comfort zone. You could make a perfect argument that he should be a No. 1 hitter. I've often said he's a lot like Rickey Henderson. He's got a great combination of speed and power. I get it. But just to consider comfort within a player's comfort zone, I was always aware of that and able to maneuver it."
That responsibility, as it applies to Crawford, now falls to Red Sox manager Terry Francona, who started Crawford in the No. 3 spot for the season's first two games. After Crawford went 0-for-7, Francona dropped him to No. 7. He got two hits April 3 in Texas, then got moved to the No. 2 spot for three games in Cleveland last week.
For most of his career with the Rays, Crawford batted second. Including Monday night, when he went 2-for-5 and scored a run, he's batting .163.
"He is almost like a (Ben) Zobrist to them -- you can almost hit him all over the place because you feel good about him in the other roles," Maddon said. "In the World Series year (2008), he came back from an injury and we hit him in the five-hole, and again, speaking of his ability to drive in a run because B.J. (Upton) was so hot in the two-hole, so I've done that with him, too. I've often looked at him as a guy who's actually pretty good at driving in a run given the opportunity."
Maddon chuckled at the idea that finding a lineup spot for Crawford has been problematic for the Red Sox.
"They have some great problems," Maddon said. "Those aren't bad problems. We'd all take those. I really don't feel sorry for them. That's something, if you wake up in the morning and you have to try to figure that out, I'll take it."
Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.