BOSTON (CBS) — Opening day is just a few days away for the Boston Red Sox, but it’s still unknown who will be the first player to step into the batter’s box Monday afternoon in Baltimore.
Grady Sizemore or Jackie Bradley Jr.? That’s the dilemma for manager John Farrell as he and his Red Sox look to defend their 2013 World Series title. Sizemore has had a great spring, batting .303 in 33 at-bats and clubbing his first homer of the spring on Tuesday, while Bradley Jr. has struggled. But can the Sox depend on a player who hasn’t played a full season in over two years?
Farrell made it sound like when opening day comes around, it will be one or the other on the major league roster. 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Adam Jones welcomed on MLB.com writer Ian Browne to discuss the budding roster debate, and who will be batting leadoff for Boston on Monday.
“This is all going to come down to how Sizemore responds to playing three days in a row,” said Browne, with Sizemore scheduled to play Wednesday and Thursday following Tuesday’s action. “If he comes in feeling pretty good Friday morning, and he’s played pretty good over the three days, I think he’s starting in centerfield on Monday in Baltimore. If he’s a little sore and his legs are dragging a bit, he didn’t play as well, then they’ll maybe say ‘let’s open with Bradley and Grady can stay in Fort Myers or maybe play in Pawtucket the next couple weeks to just get stretched out a bit.’ I really don’t think they’ve made a decision yet.”
“If you had to handicap it right now, and it seems to change every day, I think Sizemore has the edge to be the opening day center fielder,” he said. “This team right now, there are some question marks. You dont know what youre getting out of (Will) Middlebrooks or (Xander) Bogaerts. They’re asking a lot out of young players, so to have a third young guy in the lineup in Jackie Bradley, where you dont quite know if he can hit major league pitching yet, it might be a little better to have Sizemore there. You know he can handle himself and has a presence at the plate, so he is a nice fit. Then you can keep (Daniel) Nava in the middle of the order and that gives you some more production there.”
“For a lot of reasons, they really like the look of this team with Grady Sizemore at the top of the order,” said Browne.
Browne also thinks Jon Lester will receive his contract extension in the coming weeks, and shares a few stories from his new book “Idiots Revisited”: