FORT MYERS, Fla. Jonny Gomes has hit leadoff twice in his career, both times during the 2007 season when he was with Tampa Bay and played for the ever-creative Joe Maddon.
Gomes is batting leadoff this afternoon and it's an experiment for Sox manager John Farrell.
"He puts up a quality at-bat regardless of a lefty or righty. We saw that repeatedly last year," Farrell said. "This is a look at maybe an alignment that we see during the year, too."
With Jacoby Ellsbury off to the Yankees, the Red Sox are being open-minded about who bats first. Shane Victorino appears to be the top choice but Farrell likes high-OBP players like Daniel Nava and Gomes.
Farrell said Ellsbury called him after he signed with the Yankees to express his appreciation.
"To his credit he called to say thanks," Farrell said. "I got the sense he was a little surprised it happened so fast, the magnitude that it happened. [I] wished him well. We're certainly going to miss him but now he's on the other side. But he handled it with a lot of class. He was very grateful for his time here and gave thanks to the way things unfolded last year."
Daniel Nava (neck) took batting practice again and is scheduled to be in the lineup as the left fielder on Saturday.
Non-roster outfielder Corey Brown has some swelling after fouling a ball off his left hand on Thursday. He will be evaluated further on Saturday.
Grady Sizemore came away feeling good after playing three innings on Thursday and will start in center field on Saturday against the Twins. Hes responded well, Farrell said. Eventually the Sox will want to see how he does stealing bases.
"In time," Farrell said. "We would probably be a little hesitant early in camp to turn that loose completely."
Sign in Mike Napoli's locker: "Men Don't Grow Beard, Beard Grow Men."