Grady Sizemore won’t bat leadoff for the Boston Red Sox on Opening Day.
The Red Sox aren’t expected to announce the winner of the club’s center field battle between Sizemore and Jackie Bradley Jr. until Friday, but manager John Farrell told reporters in Fort Myers on Thursday that Sizemore will bat in the middle of the order — likely fifth or sixth — if he makes the major league roster out of spring training.
Daniel Nava is expected to bat leadoff versus right-handers, while Shane Victorino likely will bat leadoff versus left-handers.
“We want to take advantage of Nava’s on-base abilities, what Shane does in the 2-hole, particularly,” Farrell said. “That’s what’s going into it, in addition to (Sizemore’s) time down and the reps that would be had as the leadoff guy.”
Things could change over time. Sizemore has batted leadoff for much of spring training, and it’s a role the 31-year-old typically has filled throughout his major league career. Sizemore still is getting his feet under him after being sidelined for more than two years with injuries, though, so the Red Sox are choosing not to throw him into the fire right away.
“I’m not going to say that Grady’s never going to lead off,” Farrell said. “But I think we’re balancing the time missed, the strengths of our roster and what’s the best alignment.”
Sizemore, who has 892 games of big league experience, has started 703 contests in the leadoff spot over his eight-year career. The veteran outfielder hasn’t appeared in a regular-season game since 2011.