Don’t expect both Grady Sizemore and Jackie Bradley Jr. to be on the Boston Red Sox’s Opening Day roster.
Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters before Tuesday’s spring training game against the Tampa Bay Rays in Port Charlotte that the team still is having internal discussions about its Opening Day center fielder. Farrell said — provided right fielder Shane Victorino is healthy to begin the regular season — the Red Sox are unlikely to carry both Sizemore and Bradley on the major league roster.
The news isn’t all that shocking. Carrying both Sizemore and Bradley is redundant — both are left-handed-hitting outfielders — and the Red Sox simply don’t have the roster space. The Red Sox’s outfield will consist of Sizemore or Bradley, Victorino, Jonny Gomes, Daniel Nava and Mike Carp. (Carp and Nava can play first base, too.)
Bradley was seen as the front-runner to land the Red Sox’s starting center field job at the beginning of spring training. Sizemore has had an excellent camp, though, and the 31-year-old now appears to be the front-runner if there are no durability concerns after this week.
Sizemore, who hasn’t played in a regular-season game since 2011 because of injuries, will play in three consecutive spring training games beginning Tuesday. He is expected to play five games in six days, and how he comes out of the increased workload could determine whether the Red Sox begin the season with him or Bradley in center field.
Farrell said last week that Sizemore projects as an everyday player, but it’s possible the Red Sox could delay his start to the regular season to get the veteran outfielder more at-bats before joining the major league mix. There’s also a chance Victorino, who was scratched from Tuesday’s lineup with left side discomfort, might not be ready for Opening Day, although that’s not Farrell’s expectation at this point.