Red Sox vs. Rays lineups: Shane Victorino returns

Ethan Miller

The artist still known as Shanf is back!

Shane Victorino is back, batting sixth as he and Jon Lester make their Grapefruit League debuts for 2014.

Boston Red Sox (3-7)

  1. Grady Sizemore, CF
  2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
  3. David Ortiz, DH
  4. Mike Napoli, 1B
  5. Daniel Nava, LF
  6. Shane Victorino, RF
  7. Xander Bogaerts, SS
  8. A.J. Pierzynski, C
  9. Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Starting Pitcher -- Jon Lester

Tampa Bay Rays (5-2)

  1. Logan Forsythe, 1B
  2. Yunel Escobar, SS
  3. Evan Longoria, 3B
  4. Wil Myers, RF
  5. Sean Rodriguez, CF
  6. Jayson Nix, 2B
  7. Wilson Betemit, DH
  8. Ryan Hanigan, C
  9. Brandon Guyer, LF

Starting Pitcher -- Jake Odorizzi

There's a fair number of media folk suggesting that John Farrell might be tipping his Opening Day lineup today. The reasons for this are...unclear, but probably have something to do with Grady Sizemore batting leadoff despite the presence of other leadoff options, Shane Victorino finally being in the lineup, and the movement at the bottom of the lineup with A.J. Pierzynski flipping ahead of Will Middlebrooks, breaking up the Xander Bogaerts - Will MIddlebrooks combo.

I'm skeptical, primarily because having Grady Sizemore lead off would be a pretty bold move from Farrell with a guy who hasn't played in a regular season game since 2011, and hasn't had an OBP north of .300 since 2009. Instead, it seems more likely that Sizemore is still just leading off to maximize at bats while minimizing time in the field--a sensible strategy to take with a player who has a history of fragility.

No, I expect Farrell doesn't yet know what his Opening Day lineup will be, particularly with a guy like Shane Victorino only just now getting into the batting order. Add in that Jackie Bradley Jr. is on designated bus-riding duty (lest the Red Sox outrage too many teams!) necessitating that Sizemore get in his hacks at home, and I don't know that we can really even read anything into who's starting, regardless of where they end up in the lineup.

First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. EST with broadcasts on NESN and MLB Network.

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