The future center fielder for the Red Sox might be Jackie Bradley Jr. However, Alex Speier of WEEI.com reported that the 2014 starting job was awarded to Grady Sizemore.
The former three-time All-Star hadn’t played in a big league game since September 22, 2011, but proved worthy of a chance. He hit .310/.356/.429 in 42 at-bats this spring, compared to a .158/.213/.263 line in 57 at-bats from Bradley.
Having Sizemore in center field is a big risk given his injury history. There’s no guarantee he’ll stay healthy and in the lineup for the entire year.
However, his veteran presence in center is something manager John Farrell should be happy to have.
The departures of Ellsbury, Saltalamacchia and Drew left Boston with the task of plugging multiple holes in the middle of the baseball diamond.
Looking at most good teams, the most depending positions (catcher, shortstop, second base and center field) are occupied by quality players. A.J. Pierzynski was brought in to catch, but without Sizemore, Bradley and Xander Bogaerts were slated as the starting center fielder and shortstop, respectively.
Bogaerts had a great postseason in 2013, but they combined for 157 career regular season at-bats prior to Opening Day. Farrell would be giving a lot of responsibility to two young players that, for the most part, haven’t proven themselves in the major leagues.
Sizemore comes with questions, but brings a successful track record when healthy.
Speier reported Farrell would continue easing the outfielder in by not forcing him to lead off immediately. Boston’s medical staff has also done a great job in keeping him healthy.
If he does get hurt, Bradley will be ready for his chance after playing every day in Triple-A, once Shane Victorino gets activated off the disabled list.