Andrew Miller Could Be Fill-In Closer And Other Red Sox Spring Training Notes


Andrew MillerFORT MYERS, Fla. — The Boston Red Sox wrapped up Tuesday’s spring training workout with batting practice inside JetBlue Park. The club will open its spring training slate of games with a doubleheader against Northeastern and Boston College on Thursday.

Tuesday marked the sixth full-squad workout of Red Sox spring training, and the biggest news surrounded center field, where both Jackie Bradley Jr. and Grady Sizemore made headlines.

Let’s open up the notebook and glance over Tuesday’s developments from Fort Myers.

-Bradley vowed to put his 2013 struggles behind him. The 23-year-old also reiterated that he’s not trying to “replace” Jacoby Ellsbury this season.

-Red Sox manager John Farrell said Bradley showed improvement during each of his major league call-ups last season. According to the skipper, Bradley put together better at-bats and showed a more consistent approach by year’s end.

Farrell said he’ll be looking to see how Bradley adjusts to pitchers attempting to expose his flaws once games start up.

-Daniel Nava, who has been dealing with neck discomfort, is expected to resume full baseball activities Wednesday. That includes batting practice.

Nava is not expected to play in games Thursday or Friday, though.

-Shane Victorino ran the bases and swung in the cage Tuesday, but it’s unclear when he’ll appear in his first spring training game. Victorino hasn’t participated in batting practice yet.

According to Farrell, Victorino, who underwent thumb surgery in December, is working on “core strengthening.”

“This is not related to the hand,” Farrell said. “He feels good there. … We just felt like there were more specific needs we wanted to address before they might flare up, as we experienced a year ago.”

-Sizemore, who has shown tremendous progress this spring, is expected to play Thursday. It will mark the 31-year-old’s first game of organized baseball since 2011.

-Farrell described Burke Badenhop, who was acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers in late November, as a dependable pitcher who features a style unlike any of Boston’s other relievers.

Badenhop figures to be a sixth- or seventh-inning guy, although circumstances likely will dictate his role if he remains on the Red Sox’s roster come Opening Day.

-The Red Sox aren’t putting any limits on Junichi Tazawa’s future role. But while Farrell acknowledged Tazawa has closer ability, it’s unlikely Boston will turn to him in the ninth inning this season when closer Koji Uehara is unavailable — at least at the beginning of the season.

-Edward Mujica, who saved 37 games for the St. Louis Cardinals last season, is the most likely fill-in closer, although Farrell said Tuesday that Andrew Miller also could be a ninth-inning option when Uehara is unavailable.

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