The hottest position battle at Boston Red Sox spring training has been in center field, where newcomer Grady Sizemore and up-and-comer Jackie Bradley Jr. are jockeying for the job as Jacoby Ellsbury’s replacement.
This topic came up during manager John Farrell’s meeting with reporters Tuesday morning, and the Red Sox skipper offered some intriguing insight into the team’s thought process.
Farrell said he plans to give Daniel Nava some reps in center field before the end of spring training to judge the 31-year-old’s viability as a potential backup.
“We’d also want to get some exposure with somebody else out there just to take a look while we have an opportunity,’’ Farrell said, via ESPN.com.
“There could be both the minor league side, major league side,” Farrell continued. “Honestly, I didn’t want to rush into that because of the speculation driven from it.’’
Theoretically, having Nava split time with Sizemore in center would let Shane Victorino remain in right field full-time and allow the team to assign Bradley to Pawtucket, where he would get the chance to play every day. Farrell was quick to point out, however, that no final decisions have been made.
“There might be a time in any given game where (Victorino) might end up in center field for a couple or three innings, a pinch hit situation,” Farrell said. “I don’t have an answer yet because it’s based on what our final roster will look like.’’
Sizemore and Victorino both have had success as major league center fielders, but Sizemore’s injury history prevents the team from placing too much stock in him at this time. Nava, meanwhile, has played just one game of center field in his career, though he has significantly improved his defense in recent years.