Former Gold Glove 1B Mientkiewicz makes first major league start at second base.

Updated: August 17, 2004, 4:31 PM ET
Associated Press

BOSTON -- Former Gold Glove first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz got a rough introduction in his first career start at second base.

Moved over Monday night in an unusual lineup shift by Boston manager Terry Francona, Mientkiewicz was knocked over by Toronto's Carlos Delgado after fielding a ground ball in the second inning.

Mientkiewicz handled Frank Catalanotto's bouncer and turned to tag Delgado. The Blue Jays slugger plowed into him with his right elbow, knocking Mientkiewicz to the ground and breaking up a potential double play.

Mientkiewicz got up and said something to Delgado before second base umpire C.B. Bucknor separated the pair.

On his initial chance of the game in the first inning, Mientkiewicz made a nice backhand play on Vernon Wells' grounder up the middle, stepped on second and threw to first for an inning-ending double play.

Mientkiewicz, the 2001 Gold Glove winner at first base for Minnesota, had played second base for a total of one inning -- last season -- since coming to the majors in 1998.

"I always used to goof around out there in BP, in batting practice, last year in Minnesota," he said. "It's not a permanent thing by any means. We're just trying to make do with what we have. Hopefully, if the game's close we'll get someone out there that has played second."

Francona said he made the move to load the Red Sox lineup with left-handed hitters, and also because of an injury to third baseman Kevin Youkilis.

Youkilis was cut on his right leg when he was thrown out at the plate Sunday, sliding into Chicago White Sox catcher Sandy Alomar Jr.

Mientkiewicz took grounders at second and worked on turning double plays during Boston's batting practice before Monday night's game.

"We're not going to do it the rest of the year," Francona said. "It's for tonight's game and gives us our best chance."

On Sunday, Ricky Gutierrez started at second base. When Youkilis was hurt, Bill Mueller, who has been playing second with Mark Bellhorn and Pokey Reese both on the disabled list.

Mueller started at third on Monday.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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