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John Farrell announces preliminary Red Sox lineup

It's not set in stone, but this is where Boston's manager is at right now.

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Speaking on Boston sports radio station WEEI, Red Sox manager John Farrell unveiled his preliminary idea for the 2014 lineup. It's worth pointing out that it's not set in stone by any means, as Farrell could change his mind or spring injuries could force a drastic shift, but for now, this is the plan:

  1. Shane Victorino
  2. Dustin Pedroia
  3. David Ortiz
  4. Mike Napoli
  5. Daniel Nava
  6. Xander Bogaerts
  7. A.J. Pierzynski
  8. Will Middlebrooks
  9. Jackie Bradley Jr.

I'm not in love with Shanf leading off, unless he's giving up on switch-hitting: he just doesn't hit right-handers well enough, either historically or recently, for this to make much sense for me. I understand he's the top speed option on the club going forward, and will more than likely lead the team in stolen bases, but if he's putting up a .330 on-base percentage against righties from the lead off spot, Boston is leaving some runs on the table.

Otherwise, this lineup looks solid. Nava in the fifth spot should mean Xander Bogaerts gets some opportunities to bat with runners on even after the powerful duo of Ortiz and Napoli step to the plate. Putting Pierzynski and Middlebrooks back-to-back has some black hole potential so far as on-base percentage goes, but Pierzynski does tend to be a productive contact hitter who puts up a solid average, and Middlebrooks' power in the eighth spot should produce some fun throughout the year. Bradley isn't as fast as his playing center field might make people think he is, but if he's getting on base like he should and runs the bases better than he steals them, he can work in the nine spot as something of a second lead-off batter, helping to set the table for Victorino and Pedroia.

It's not my favorite lineup -- I'd much prefer Nava batting first against righties with Victorino pulling that job against southpaws -- but if Shanf bats righty exclusively, I can be sold on this exact setup easily.