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Jackie Bradley Jr. headed back up to Boston

Jackie Bradley Jr. is headed back up to Boston. The only question now is: who is he replacing?

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Jackie Bradley Jr. is finally on his way back to Boston according to Lou Merloni:

Lou is right! It is about time! This is great news, with Bradley hitting .322/.398/.468 in Pawtucket while the Red Sox regularly give playing time to Alejandro De Aza. One of these players could actually be an important player going forward for the team, and was very recently a highly-regarded prospect. The other is Alejandro De Aza.

So that's the exciting news. But then there's the implication. If Jackie Bradley Jr. is coming up from Pawtucket, that means they need to open up a roster space. And chances are, given the events of last night, that's going to be at the expense of either Hanley Ramirez or Dustin Pedroia. Ramirez was hit in the hand by a Xander Bogaerts line drive in Wednesday's win over the Orioles, while Dustin Pedroia pulled up hurt at first after a base hit. Both left the game, and there has been no news on the severity of said injuries other than that both were getting checked out further.

It's possible neither one is hitting the disabled list. Or that Alejandro De Aza is after getting hit by a pitch. Or that it's none of the above and the Red Sox are just ready to get Blake Swihart back in the lineup and are dumping their third catcher. Or even that Joe Kelly is finally getting removed from the rotation and the Sox are expanding their bench for a few games before calling up his replacement.

Whatever the case, one thing should be clear: if Jackie Bradley Jr. is here, Jackie Bradley Jr. should play. The last time he was up with the team, he got the Allen Craig treatment, receiving inconsistent playing time in a handful of games before being shipped down for not being able to perform under those unfortunate conditions. It's good the Red Sox are giving him another shot. Now they have to make sure it's a fair one.