As the Boston Red Sox begin to turn their collective eye away from spring training and towards Opening Day 2013, questions still abound about the composition of their everyday lineup. The issue has been, like seemingly every year, about health.
We know David Ortiz will be down and out for the start of the season, his heel “strain” somehow lingering now into its eighth month. The heel bug has also bitten Jacoby Ellsbury, who was forced to leave Sunday’s game against the Phillies with an injury deemed minor by both Ellsbury himself and manager John Farrell to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo.
There are positive signs this spring, too. The emergence of Jackie Bradley Jr. has been a pleasant surprise, as the Sox’s top outfield prospect has shown that he may be ready for MLB a bit sooner than once thought. Mike Napoli, Will Middlebrooks and Jarrod Saltalamacchia have all had strong springs at the plate.
Assuming Ellsbury is indeed healthy, the Sox have an interesting mix of players to take into Opening Day. Here is the best lineup they can put on the field on April 1 against the Yankees: