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Red Sox vs. Royals: Second half starts sans Mookie Betts

The Red Sox are ready to get the second half of the season underway, but apparently not to put a first-half mindset aimed at contention behind them.

Jim Rogash

It's been a work week since the Red Sox last took the field, but the time has brought them no closer, it seems, to admitting defeat in 2014, however clear it may be. As such, we have another game devoted mostly, but not entirely to player development. In short, another day with Stephen Drew.

Today's Lineups

KANSAS CITY ROYALS BOSTON RED SOX
Lorenzo Cain - CF Brock Holt - RF
Omar Infante - 2B Dustin Pedroia - 2B
Eric Hosmer - 1B David Ortiz - DH
Salvador Perez - C Mike Napoli - 1B
Alex Gordon - LF Daniel Nava - LF
Billy Butler - DH Xander Bogaerts - 3B
Mike Moustakas - 3B Stephen Drew - SS
Alcides Escobar - SS David Ross - C
Norichika Aoki - RF Jackie Bradley - CF
James Shields - RHP Clay Buchholz - RHP

Know that I don't come at this from the viewpoint of a Drew hater. I'd call myself an apologist, but frankly I'm of the opinion that after 2013 there's not much to apologize for. But this is not the place to hash out that old argument, especially since both the pro- and anti-Drew crowd agree that there's just not much point to him in Boston anymore.

It's not about the batting line. That the extended offseason seems to have proven quite the detriment to both Drew and fellow midseason signing Kendrys Morales just reduces Boston's options in removing him from the equation. What matters is that the Red Sox are not in a position to contend in 2014, Drew is not likely to return in 2015, and the Red Sox have other players who they would be better off giving those at bats to. For today, that's Mookie Betts. Tomorrow it might be Brock Holt or Xander Bogaerts. Heck, given the way Betts and Holt free up the Sox when it comes to filling their lineup, it could even be Jackie Bradley Jr. or Daniel Nava.

The point is that Stephen Drew is taking at bats from someone. And it's no more ideal now than it was on Sunday.

First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. ET with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.