BOSTON (CBS) — Grady Sizemore will likely be the Red Sox’ starting center fielder come opening day on Monday, but he won’t be the first batter to step to the plate when Boston begins their World Series defense.

Manager John Farrell announced Thursday that if Sizemore makes the opening day roster, he will hit somewhere in the middle of the lineup. Seeing how he is batting .306 in 11 games this spring, Sizemore is pretty much a lock to make the team.

But Farrell will go with either Daniel Nava, Shane Victorino or even Jonny Gomes in the leadoff spot, depending on matchups, hoping it allows Sizemore a little more of a cushion as he returns to baseball after a two-plus year absence due to injuries.

“We look at those top spots in the lineup as on-base (ability) being the most important (factor),” Farrell told reporters on Thursday, according to’s Sean McAdam. “And we also factor in that if it were to be Grady, there’s a potential of one more at-bat (hitting at the top of the order) every single night. And how does that affect him, given the amount of time off?

Read: Lester Officially Named Boston’s Opening Day Starter

“I think we’d probably see him in that No. 5 or 6 range in the lineup initially,” said Farrell. “Again, we want to take advantage of Nava’s on-base abilities, and what Shane does in the No. 2 hole. So that’s what’s going into (the decision).”

“I’m not going to say that Grady’s never going to lead off,” said Farrell. “But we’re balancing the time missed, the strengths of our roster and what’s the best alignment.”



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