FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Boston Red Sox could enter the 2014 season with three players 25 years old or younger in their starting lineup. One of those players, Jackie Bradley Jr., doesn’t see that as a big deal.
“You’ve got to start somewhere,” Bradley said before Tuesday’s spring training game against the Tampa Bay Rays. “Who cares about the whole age thing? If you go out there and show them you can play, age is just a number.”
There is a lot of evidence to support Bradley’s assertion. The game has seen an impressive influx of young talent in recent years, with Mike Trout (22 years old) and Clayton Kershaw (25 years old) arguably being the best position player and pitcher, respectively, in Major League Baseball. Yet, there have been some rumblings about whether the Red Sox should be concerned about going with a lineup that includes Bradley (turning 24 in April) in center field, Xander Bogaerts (21) at shortstop and Will Middlebrooks (25) at third base, especially given that Boston figures to once again contend for a World Series title in 2014.
The Red Sox don’t appear to have such concerns, though. While Bradley, Bogaerts and Middlebrooks still are young, manager John Farrell said Tuesday that spring training has given Boston another opportunity to gauge everyone’s development with Opening Day fast approaching.