FORT MYERS, Fla. — Thursday marks a big day at Boston Red Sox spring training, as the club kicks off its exhibition schedule with a doubleheader against Northeastern University and Boston College.
The first game of Thursday’s doubleheader will feature a heavy dose of Red Sox regulars facing Northeastern. The Sox will insert mostly backups and prospects for Game 2 against Boston College.
Red Sox manager John Farrell spoke with reporters before Thursday’s twin bill. Below are some notes from JetBlue Park.
-Thursday’s game against Northeastern will be Grady Sizemore’s first organized baseball game since 2011. Sizemore is leading off and playing left field.
Farrell said the expectation is for Sizemore to get a couple of at-bats and get his feet under him — just like the rest of Boston’s position players. Farrell also said the biggest thing with Sizemore will be seeing how he feels physically coming out of Thursday’s game, particularly Friday morning.
-Sizemore is expected to be given a day off from activities every seven or eight days. Farrell said the Red Sox likely will get a look at Sizemore playing all three outfield spots, although most of his action will come in left field and center field.
-Daniel Nava, who is dealing with neck discomfort, won’t be in the lineup Thursday or Friday. He will participate in full baseball activities Thursday, though, and it’s possible he could be in Boston’s lineup over the weekend.
-There’s no timetable for when Shane Victorino, who is working on “core strengthening,” will begin playing in games.
Farrell erased any concerns Thursday, though, saying Victorino’s Opening Day availability is not in jeopardy. The club simply is taking things slow before Victorino begins live action, and, according to Farrell, the approach has nothing to do with the 33-year-old’s offseason thumb surgery.
-Jackie Bradley Jr. will be given “ample opportunity” to show where he’s at, according to Farrell.
-The reviews on utilityman Jonathan Herrera have been positive thus far.
“He’s got good hands. He’s got good range. We saw that early on in just some of the drill work with (Brian Butterfield),” Farrell said. “We’ll get to see how the bat plays as we begin the game schedule here right now, but the versatility, he’s a smart player, he understands all the concepts behind some of the things that we do on our infield defense. He’s a true pro.”
-Farrell said the most important aspect of the Red Sox’s utility role is for the player to be able to play shortstop. Herrera and Brock Holt will continue to get long looks for the role.
-Dalier Hinojosa still is getting acclimated in his first major league camp.
“Power to his stuff. He’s got the ability to spin some breaking balls — a couple of different types of breaking balls — and we’re getting to know about him, his aptitude and just his overall baseball experience so far in camp,” Farrell said.
-Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa — whose workloads are being monitored after last season’s usage — likely will get into games around a third of the way through Boston’s spring training schedule, according to Farrell.
Photo via Twitter/@WilmerReina