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Projecting the Red Sox roster, Version 1.0

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  February 25, 2014 09:45 AM

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FORT MYERS, Fla. We'll repeat this exercise again a few times before spring training is over. But as the Sox get ready for Grapefruit League games, here's a shot at projecting the Opening Day roster:

STARTING PITCHERS (5)
LHP Jon Lester
RHP Clay Buchholz
RHP John Lackey
RHP Jake Peavy
LHP Felix Doubront

Explanation: Barring injury, this group is carved in stone. The departure of Ryan Dempster ended whatever competition there was going to be.

RELIEF PITCHERS (7)
RHP Koji Uehara
RHP Junichi Tazawa
LHP Craig Breslow
LHP Andrew Miller
RHP Edward Mujica
RHP Burke Badenhop
LHP Chris Capuano

Explanation: This doesn't seem fair to Brandon Workman, who pitched the eighth inning of Game 6 of the World Series. But the bullpen shifts constantly and he'll get there eventually. Badenhop's spot is not a lock. He probably needs to show the Sox a little something. The Sox like the idea of having three lefties in the bullpen in the AL East and believe Capuano can flourish in that role.

Don't get too worked up about who is in the bullpen on Opening Day. Andrew Bailey, Joel Hanrahan, Alfredo Aceves, and Clayton Mortensen all were last season. They were ghosts by the summer.

CATCHERS (2)
A.J. Pierzynski
David Ross

Explanation: It would take an injury to change this.

DESIGNATED HITTER (1)
David Ortiz

Explanation: None needed, right?

INFIELD (5)
1B Mike Napoli
2B Dustin Pedroia
SS Xander Bogaerts
3B Will Middlebrooks
UTIL Jonathan Herrera

Explanation: The starters, for now, seem set unless Stephen Drew walks through the door one morning. Herrera was obtained because of his defensive versatility and has an edge on the utility job.

OUTFIELD (5)
RF Shane Victorino
CF Jackie Bradley Jr.
LF Jonny Gomes
LF-RF-1B Daniel Nava
LF-1B Mike Carp

Explanation: Here is where it gets tricky. If Grady Sizemore is ready for the Opening Day roster, the Sox will have some decisions to make. Could the Sox get away with dropping Bradley back to Triple A and use Sizemore and Victorino in center? Would they trade Nava or Carp to make room for Sizemore? The guess for now: Sizemore starts the season on the disabled list, if only to allow him more time to get ready.

The Red Sox believe that Victorino's defense in right field is more of an advantage (especially in Fenway Park) than it would be in center.

Sizemore's spot is the biggest roster question. If he shows he's ready to play, something has to give. The next month will determine that.

What's your call? Leave a comment on any changes you envision.

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