Shane Victorino likely will get the first crack at the Boston Red Sox’s leadoff spot, which was vacated by Jacoby Ellsbury, who signed with the New York Yankees over the offseason.
Red Sox manager John Farrell said earlier this winter that Victorino was among those under consideration for the leadoff role, and the Boston skipper revealed Wednesday on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan that The Flyin’ Hawaiian likely will bat first come Opening Day.
“Probably Shane Victorino. And while he’s probably performed a little bit better in that two-hole and sometimes in that five-hole, this is about how we as a team can become a top-five offensive club in the American League,” Farrell said. “That’s what’s going to allow us to be in a position to be successful.”
Daniel Nava is another player who has been tossed around in connection with the Red Sox’s leadoff spot. Farrell said Wednesday that it’s possible Nava, among others, could see time in the leadoff role, even if Victorino is the go-to guy.
“There are times, absolutely,” Farrell said of Nava batting first. “There could be Jonny Gomes in the leadoff spot, too. I would not rule him out in that spot. He might not be the classic leadoff guy with a stolen-base characteristic in his skill set, but he’s an on-base guy. Jonny Gomes is going to play a pivotal role for us as well.”
Farrell also provided a preliminary glimpse of what a complete starting lineup could look like for the Red Sox in 2014. Farrell was asked about rookie Xander Bogaerts’ spot in the order, and the manager elaborated on his current plans.
“Right now I’d have [Bogaerts] in the six-hole. And that puts him in between [A.J.] Pierzynski in the seven-hole and Nava in the five-hole,” Farrell said. “And then just a quick look at it, but if you were to go Victorino, [Dustin] Pedroia, [David] Ortiz, [Mike] Napoli, Nava, Bogaerts, Pierzynski, [Will] Middlebrooks, [Jackie] Bradley. You’ve got a little left-right combination in there, you’ve got maybe just a way to stay away from matchups that might be able to extend to two or three hitters. That’s just the first look.”
Farrell doesn’t need to make any decisions right now, as spring training will allow him to better gauge where everyone is at going into the regular season. Wednesday’s comments were telling, though, as there’s now at least some sense of clarity about which direction Farrell is leaning.
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