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Wilkerson out?

Posted by Tony Massarotti, Globe Staff  March 29, 2009 11:17 AM

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The Red Sox have not made a formal announcement yet, but Red Sox manager Terry Francona acknowledged this morning that Brad Wilkerson has at least temporarily left the club to assess his options, suggesting that he will not be part of the Red Sox' plans when the club breaks camp.

That leaves two men for what seems to be the one remaining spot on the positional roster: Jeff Bailey and Chris Carter.

Even then, the decision might be largely irrelevant, at least from the standpoint of the team. Regardless of which player makes the club to start the season, neither Bailey (minor-league contract) nor Carter (one option remaining) must be exposed to waivers in order to be demoted. As such, the Sox can keep both in the organization. Each will likely make an appearance and/or contribution with the team at some point.

The righthanded-hitting Bailey is batting .357 this spring entering today's game against the Phillies. The lefthanded-hitting Carter is hitting .350.

With regard to the final infield spot, all signs continue to point to Nick Green, who played right field Saturday and almost certainly will serve as the utility man with Julio Lugo's absence forcing Jed Lowrie into the starting role. Green's ability to play the outfield lessens the need for either Carter or Bailey to do so.

Signed to a minor-league deal after the Mark Kotsay injury, Wilkerson has had a dreadful spring at the plate, batting .119 with 18 strikeouts in 42 at-bats. His deal allowed him the option to leave the club April 1 if he wasn't on the big league roster, and it is likely that he left camp because the club informed him that he will not be making the team.

Today's game against the Phillies is due to start at 1:07 p.m. with Jon Lester opposing Joe Blanton. Designated hitters will be used.

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