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Projecting the Red Sox roster, Version 2.0

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  March 17, 2014 09:00 AM

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FORT MYERS, Fla. Our first version of this was on Feb. 25. There are a few changes since.

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

Explanation: Same as it ever was. The starters are lined up a little differently than expected with Buchholz the No. 5. But the five in the rotation have stayed the same.

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

Explanation: Craig Breslow has yet to pitch in a game and the season starts on March 31. It doesn't seem reasonable to expect him to be ready in time, so Workman slides in. The Red Sox could look to maintain control over more pitchers by keeping the surprising Francisco Cordero and optioning Workman to Triple A.

The Sox really like lefty Tommy Layne. Remember that name for down the road.

CATCHERS (2)
A.J. Pierzynski
David Ross

Explanation: No changes. The Sox have enviable depth here as Christian Vazquez and Ryan Lavarnway are ready if a need arises.

DESIGNATED HITTER (1)
David Ortiz

Explanation: It has been a quiet camp for Big Papi. A contract extension seems imminent given his cheery mood.

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

Explanation: Steven Drew's name doesn't come up much these days. The Sox are pleased with the attention to detail shown by Bogaerts and Middlebrooks. The Red Sox gave up Franklin Morales to get Herrera from the Rockies, so he has the inside track on a bench job. But that is a spot that could get upgraded at some point.

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

Explanation: Grady Sizemore is ostensibly in competition with Bradley to play center field. But you know who has never said that? Grady Sizemore. He talks very cautiously about his status and has never said he feels ready to be an everyday player again. John Farrell has been ultra-cautious in discussing Sizemore, too.

The guess here is that the Red Sox have an informal deal with Sizemore to start the season on the disabled list then get some games in Triple A and/or extended spring training. Either that or they'll trade Carp and use Sizemore of the bench.

The Sox have 13 games in 14 days to start the season. How could they start the season without Bradley? The odds of Sizemore being able to start 13 games in 14 days in April, especially in cold weather, are beyond slim and the Red Sox are on the record about not wanting to use Victorino in center.

Whether Sizemore is playing on Opening Day is not particularly important. It's building him back up to be a player over the course of the season that matters. The Sox seem to be willing to make this a methodical process.

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