FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Good morning from the Fort, where the bus for Clearwater left at 7:30 for the 2 ½-hour trek to Bright House Field and a date with the Phillies.
Typically, the varsity is spared the long bus rides in Florida as much as possible, but in this case manager John Farrell wanted to see his regulars play in back-to-back games. The Sox have another trip Monday to Sarasota to face the Orioles, but in that case the regulars will remain here in the Fort for a couple of at-bats apiece in minor-league games.
The most notable entry on Farrell’s lineup card Sunday: Jackie Bradley Jr., LF.
Eight days before the April 1 opener, Bradley is making his first start of the spring in left field and batting seventh against an elite left-hander, Cliff Lee, which should serve as a great primer for a possible date April 1 against the Yankees’ CC Sabathia. Bradley made his first appearance in left field Friday in Dunedin, playing three innings after starting the game in center, long enough to make an outstanding catch and throwing out a runner at home plate.
The Red Sox, of course, have not made it official that Bradley, who is still a nonroster player, has made the club out of camp, but neither has Farrell announced that Jon Lester will be pitching the opener, and that’s obvious too. At this stage, it simply defies logic to keep Bradley off the Opening Day roster, given the potential positive impact he could have on the team in the absence of David Ortiz. And if it doesn’t work out, Bradley gives every indication of possessing the maturity to view that as only a temporary setback.
If you can pull yourself away from the NCAA tournament long enough, you can form your own impressions on Bradley: NESN is televising the game, beginning at 1.
Brandon Workman, a 24-year-old right-hander who like Bradley began last season in Class A Salem and finished in Double-A Portland, has been summoned from minor-league camp to start against the Phillies, as relievers Andrew Bailey and Daniel Bard are the only camp pitchers scheduled to make the trip. Workman was named Red Sox Minor-League Pitcher of the Year last season after going 10-8 with a 3.50 ERA with 130 K’s in 128 2/3 innings between Salem and Portland.
Ryan Dempster, Koji Uehara and Andrew Miller all were slated to work in minor-league games Sunday. The same will apply Monday, when Felix Doubront starts in a minor-league game and Graham Godfrey, a right-hander who has made cameo appearances for Oakland the last two seasons, is scheduled to start against the Orioles in Sarasota.
On Tuesday, an off-day for the big leaguers, John Lackey will start in a minor-league game. Lester, Clay Buchholz and Dempster will make abbreviated starts in big-league games Wednesday against the Marlins (Lester), Thursday against the Twins (Buchholz) and Friday against the Twins (Dempster). Though the schedule had not yet been posted, Doubront presumably will do the same against the Twins on Saturday, the last game before the team breaks camp, and Lackey will stay back to pitch in a minor-league game on Sunday.
Here are Sunday's lineups:
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Mike Napoli, 1B
Jonny Gomes, DH
Jackie Bradley Jr., LF
Jose Iglesias, SS
Brandon Workman, RHP
Ben Revere, CF
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Chase Utley, 2B
Ryan Howard, 1B
Michael Young, 3B
Domonic Brown, RF
Laynce Nix, LF
Cliff Lee, SP