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Red Sox minor league notes: Brandon Jacobs to return to Salem, Drake Britton set for Portland

04.01.13 at 1:10 pm ET
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NEW YORK — While all eyes will be on the Red Sox’ major league team on Monday, the organization has been carefully navigating through the season-opening assignments of its prospects to minor league affiliates in recent days. Beyond the somewhat surprising decision to option Daniel Bard to Double-A Portland, there is at least one other assignment of a notable Red Sox prospect that represents an unexpected development.

Outfielder Brandon Jacobs, a 22-year-old two-sport star who was taken in the 10th round of the 2009 draft and signed away from a football scholarship at Auburn for $750,000, was expected to start 2013 with Double-A Portland. After all, he’d spent all of 2011 in Single-A Greenville (hitting .303 with a .376 OBP, .505 slugging mark, 17 homers and 30 steals) and then spent the entirety of 2012 in High-A Salem where, despite a broken wrist that impeded his timing and swing, he hit .252/.322/.410 with 13 homes and 17 steals — respectable numbers given his age, experience level and the fact that the Carolina League is one of the more hitter-unfriendly ones in the minors.

But Jacobs had an up-and-down performance in spring training, flashing power but at times struggling with his approach at the plate and his focus on the field. And so, while his prior experience suggested a likely Double-A assignment to start the year, given that the team has outfield depth in the upper levels, Jacobs will start the year back in High-A Salem, though with the opportunity to play his way up to Portland relatively early in the season.

One other notable Opening Day assignment: left-hander Drake Britton, who was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in early March, is slated to open the year on time with Double-A Portland, suggesting that a resolution to his outstanding court case has either been achieved or is imminent.

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