Jackie Bradley might not stick after all, David Ortiz keeps swinging, and Xander Bogaerts is pleased with the WBC
Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal spoke to John Farrell on Wednesday in Fort Myers, and from the sound of it, there just isn't anywhere to put Jackie Bradley on the Opening Day roster.* Farrell said that he doesn't see Bradley as a left fielder, so, while in-season at some point we might see Bradley in right and free agent outfielder Shane Victorino shifted to left, it's unlikely that's going to be a day one thing.
And, as you've heard us harp on this week, that's a good thing. Stashing Bradley for the first 11 days of the season -- or the first nine games, depending on how you want to present it -- would result in securing team control for the 2019 season instead of Bradley departing following his 2018 campaign. Even if the Sox needed Bradley for the season's first week, it's hard to justify a week-plus of games now as more important than 162 of them in the future, especially during what should, presumably, be Bradley's peak.
David Ortiz went from possibly out until May due to inactivity to taking 100 swings in about 24 hours. According to the Boston Globe's Peter Abraham, Ortiz had 50 balls flipped to him by coaching staff assistant Ino Guerrero on Wednesday, 50 balls he took a hack at. The most important tidbit? Abraham says that Ortiz appeared to be "cutting loose" with his swings, and that he walked out of the batting cage "normally." It's a start, one that hopefully leads to that mid-April return.
Rob Bradford has a look at why the World Baseball Classic was so important for Red Sox' top prospect Xander Bogaerts. The primary takeaway? Bogaerts saw a lot of pitches that he, who has spent all of 97 plate appearances at Double-A in his career, has not seen much of before:
"You would see all the fastballs here, and then there you would only see off-speed. You would barely see fastballs. It was crazy. Those Japanese teams weren't throwing fastballs. You have to learn to hit."
Bogaerts will see a whole lot more breaking and off-speed stuff as he returns to Double-A Portland to begin 2013, and the frequencies are only going to increase as he climbs the ladder. You could say he would have seen the same stuff had he stayed behind in spring training, but remember: the WBC teams were playing to win, while spring training teams tend to be in preparation mode. It's a different setup, and he's likely the better for it, even if it's just a tiny bit.