BOSTON (CBS) – It looks like the Boston Red Sox will head into the regular season a little shorthanded, but that could mean a jump start for a promising young prospect.

David Ortiz is likely looking at a DL stint and potential minor league rehab outing to begin the season, and more recently shortstop Stephen Drew’s status for April 1 in New York came into doubt.

With a pair of lefties going down, could that open a spot for prospect Jackie Bradley Jr., who is tearing the cover off the ball down in Fort Myers?

CBS Sports Baseball Insider Jon Heyman joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Gresh & Zolak on Tuesday, and said Bradley Jr. has a very good chance at making the opening day roster.

“I think around the league, the scouts that see it see him as the best player on (the Red Sox) this spring,” Heyman said of Bradley Jr., who has hit .436 with nine runs scored and four RBIs in 18 games this spring.

“You’re taking somewhat of a chance of bringing him up before he’s ready; it appears that he’s ready,” said Heyman. “If you talk to the scouts you can’t help but like this kid. He’s been their best player and can provide them with energy and a lift. Drew isn’t going to be ready for opening day; Ortiz isn’t ready for opening day. (Bradley is) left-handed, and you can’t help but think it would be anything but an improvement if he was on the team and performs anything like he has here.”

Heyman had trouble thinking of a former Major Leaguer to compare Bradley Jr. with, but that’s not a bad thing for the Sox prospect.

“Kenny Lofton pops into my mind, but he was a true speed guy. You’re talking about a .300 hitter with a great arm. He definitely has star potential,” he said of Bradley Jr.. “He may be a unique player, because I can’t think of an exact fit. But he’s going to be a star at the Major League level.”

Also, who will get the bulk of playing time at shortstop with Drew out? And how does Heyman see the AL East playing out?


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