PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Greetings from the Port, where manager John Farrell told the media a few things about Grady Sizemore that you already knew, but was a little more definitive than he has been to date.
Anyone still clinging to the illusion that the Sox would somehow start the season with both Sizemore and Jackie Bradley Jr. on the roster can let that go now. Farrell said it is an either/or proposition, one that is still spawning a good deal of internal conversation, with one aspect of the discussion being whether Sizemore might profit from an extra 40 or 50 at-bats in the minor leagues.
The guess here is that side is not going to carry the debate, that unless Sizemore proves unable to sustain this week’s heavier workload (five games, three in a row starting Tuesday), he will be on the plane to Baltimore for the March 31 opener, and Bradley will open the season with Pawtucket. Farrell hinted as much when he said Sizemore has satisfied any questions Farrell might have had about Sizemore performance-wise; he doesn’t look like a guy who missed the last two seasons.
Farrell also said that if the Sox decide to buy Sizemore more time, it will be in minor league games, not in extended spring training. All roster decisions are expected to be made by Thursday or Friday, the manager said.
Sizemore (1 for 4 with a homer) and Bradley (0 for 4) were in the lineup together Tuesday against the Rays, with Sizemore in center and Bradley in right, taking the place of Shane Victorino, originally scheduled to play here. Farrell said Victorino had some soreness in his left side and was being kept out for precautionary reasons. He should be good to go for the opener, Farrell said, but the Sox are planning to protect themselves by having Victorino play only minor league games from here on in, in case they need to place him on the DL. But Farrell emphasized he didn’t expect that to be necessary.
Sizemore has hit leadoff all spring, but Tuesday it was Daniel Nava at the top of the order with Sizemore in the 5-hole. Farrell said he wanted to take a look at that combination, with Nava’s high on-base percentage still keeping him in the mix for the No. 1 spot.
Other tidbits: Craig Breslow will throw in a minor league game Thursday and Jon Lester will pitch a minor league game Wednesday, instead of facing the Orioles, the team he is on track to face in the season opener.