11:25 a.m.: The Red Sox’ roster is really starting to take shape, but the most important question remains unanswered. What is the club going to do with Jackie Bradley Jr.?
The decision regarding Bradley, who has ripped the Grapefruit League to shreds, has been well-documented, and we can debate the situation until we’re blue in the face. The Sox would be wise to make a decision — whatever it may be — relatively soon, though, as keeping the outfielder in limbo doesn’t exactly accomplish much.
With that said, I’d be very surprised if Bradley doesn’t start the season in the majors. Bradley, Mike Carp and Ryan Sweeney seemed to be battling for the final two roster spots, and the Red Sox opted not to offer Sweeney a major league contract on Thursday. Mike Carp has since made the team, so it seems logical to assume Bradley will man the final spot, although no official decision has been made.
The biggest thing that the Red Sox need to be sure of is that Bradley gets everyday at-bats. There’s no sense in bringing the 22-year-old up if he’s not going to play every day, especially since bringing him up already jeopardizes them losing a year of team control.
Bradley will be in the lineup on Friday. He’ll play left field and bat eighth.
The rest of Friday’s lineup is below.
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Mike Napoli, 1B
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Jonny Gomes, DH
Jackie Bradley Jr., LF
Pedro Ciriaco, SS
Ryan Dempster, P
8 a.m. ET: What’s the sense in playing? The Red Sox are already Mayor’s Cup champs.
Boston secured its second straight Mayor Cup’s on Thursday night with a 6-1 victory over the Twins. The Sox still have two more games against their Fort Myers brethren to close out spring training, though, and it’ll be Ryan Dempster getting his final tune-up on Friday.
Dempster — like the rest of the Red Sox’ rotation — has been solid this spring. The right-hander enters Friday’s game with a 3.06 ERA (six earned runs in 17 2/3 innings). His last Grapefruit League start came on March 19, and he allowed three earned runs on six hits over five innings. Dempster took the hill during an intrasquad game on Sunday, and he allowed six runs on nine hits, although much of his struggles can be attributed to the extremely windy conditions at Fenway South.
Dempster will be followed on Friday by Junichi Tazawa and Clayton Mortensen. Manager John Farrell said that Mortensen is expected to start the season in the Red Sox’ bullpen, although that became apparent when Daniel Bard was optioned to Double-A Portland on Thursday.
Friday’s action at Hammond Stadium will start up at 1:05 p.m. ET. Be sure to keep it right here for commentary and analysis throughout the game.