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Grady Sizemore Could Force Roster Decision for Red Sox

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One of the best feel-good stories in all Spring Training has to be the pending comeback of Grady Sizemore.

Sizemore sat out the 2012 and 2013 seasons due to injuries – with 2010 and 2011 injury plagued, causing him to miss a considerable number of games.

Right before camp, the Red Sox inked Sizemore to an incentive-laden contract – as he attempts to return to the majors.

While the signs are looking good – Sizemore needs to prove his body can endure the rigors of playing baseball every day. And he needs to show he still has it offensively and in the field.

Sizemore said earlier this week, “I feel good, but not great. My timing feels off. It feels a little rusty. But I don’t feel like it’s been two or three years. I feel like it’s just another spring training where it’s early where you’re just trying to get a hold of things and get that rhythm down. I still feel like I have a long way to go. It’s not quite where I would like it to be and I want to fine-tune some things.”

So don’t pencil Sizemore onto the roster – never mind pushing aside Jackie Bradley Jr. as the starting center fielder – quite yet.

Boston manager John Farrell said, “We came into camp with Jackie as the guy. We projected him as the starting center fielder, and I don’t think anything has radically changed that thought. But we can’t deny the fact that Grady Sizemore has looked very well in camp, and we’re still in the process of trying to get our arms around his durability.”

Red Sox Outfield Options

Last season, in addition to starters Jonny Gomes, Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino, the Red Sox had Daniel Nava and Mike Carp in bench roles – with both players able to play outfield and first base.

Take the four returning players (with Ellsbury off to New York) and Sizemore and Bradley – there are six players for five roster spots.

Some options:

  • Red Sox decide Sizemore needs more playing time to shake off the rust – so they send him to Pawtucket. Roster: Gomes, Victorino, Bradley, Nava, Carp.
  • Sizemore wins the starting center job. Bradley to Pawtucket. This seems unlikely. It is too much to expect Sizemore can play every day. When he sits, Victorino would need to move to center and Nava to right, weakening overall outfield defense.
  • Sizemore and Bradley make the big league club. And either Nava or Carp gets traded. This would require a big leap of faith in Sizemore by the Red Sox (that he can physically make it through the season) – giving up outfield depth in Carp or Nava. Or it could be seen as a vote of confidence that Bryce Brentz is close to the big leagues – and ready to come to Boston if needed.

What do you think the Red Sox outfield will look like on Opening Day?

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