|John Farrell isn’t ready to name his Opening Day designated hitter quite yet||03.11.13 at 12:58 pm ET|
JUPITER, Fla. — With news coming down that it his highly unlikely David Ortiz will be ready for Opening Day, the guessing began regarding who might fill the designated hitter spot for the Red Sox on April 1 in Yankee Stadium.
Prior to the Sox’ spring training game against the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium Monday, manager John Farrell wasn’t ready to start penciling in lineups.
“I think you’re always having some contingencies no matter what position,” Farrell said. “That’s part of the overall internal discussions that take place. As it relates to David, depending on where we are over the next week to 10 days to two weeks, we’ll consider all the options internally right now. … Not that we’ve really set out what the ultimate make-up of the bench is, who fills that slot. Ongoing. Not to give you a short answer and try and avoid it.”
Depending on both the length of time Ortiz will miss, and whom might be available on the roster, the Red Sox could filter a variety of players at the DH position to start. (And the candidates won’t include free agent Derrek Lee, whom, according to a major league source, the Red Sox have not talked about. The Yankees have reportedly shown interest in the 37-year-old.)
Against right-handers, the candidates would include Jarrod Saltamacchia, and whichever player(s) emerge from the Ryan Sweeney, Mitch Maier, Lyle Overbay, and Mike Carp group.
With a left-hander on the hill, Mauro Gomez and Ryan Lavarnway are both in the mix to both be on the roster and serve as a fill-in for Ortiz. Mike Napoli could also get a respite from playing first base, moving one of the aforementioned backup first basemen into the lineup. Jonny Gomes could also move in from the outfield.
As WEEI.com’s Alex Speier reported Saturday, outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not likely to be considered for a spot on the Opening Day major league roster.
“It’s safe to say we don’t have another David Ortiz waiting to occupy that slot,” Farrell said. “What the best match-ups are, that’s where we’ll have to continue to look at. How we balance Mike Napoli playing every day, that will be another thing factored in. Right now everything projects where he would be fine, but we’ve also got to consider that.”
As for how the right-handed-hitting designated hitter candidates have done against Yankees’ Opening Day starter CC Sabathia: Gomez (1-for-2), Nava (2-for-7), Saltlamacchia (3-for-14), Gomes (5-for-24) and Lavarnway (0-for-3).
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