Jackie Bradley Jr. is ready to seize the Boston Red Sox’ center field job.
Bradley told NESN’s Tom Caron on Red Sox Now on Wednesday that he already is in Fort Myers, Fla., working out and getting ready for the upcoming season. Positions players aren’t scheduled to report to Fort Myers until Feb. 18., with the Red Sox’ first full squad workout set for Feb. 20.
Bradley likely will be the Red Sox’ starting center fielder in 2014 now that Jacoby Ellsbury has signed with the New York Yankees. The 23-year-old certainly will have some big shoes to fill, so it’s encouraging for the Red Sox that Bradley is taking his opportunity seriously. Then again, Bradley’s work ethic has been lauded since the Red Sox drafted him in the first round in 2011, so his commitment never really was in question.
Bradley hit .189 (18-for-95) with three homers and 10 RBIs over the course of four major league call-ups in 2013. The young outfielder, who also hit .275 with 10 homers and 35 RBIs in 80 games with Triple-A Pawtucket, struggled during his first stint in the majors but showed improvement later in the year.
This has been an eventful offseason for Bradley, who recently got married and honeymooned in Antigua. Now, Bradley’s focus clearly is on baseball.