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Red Sox lineup: Grady Sizemore gets call to lead off against Northeastern

02.27.14 at 9:22 am ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — He wasn’t banking on this day coming, but the fact that it’s here certainly is a step in the right direction for Grady Sizemore.

The Red Sox outfielder, who hasn’t played a major league game since September, 2011, is jumping right into game action, getting the nod to lead off in his team’s exhibition game against Northeastern on Thursday afternoon.

“I didn’t think about it,” Sizemore said regarding getting the chance to see game action in the first spring training game. “My plan was to get down here and see how I felt. It was one of those things I wanted to get here and see how the body felt on a day to day basis. It was one of those things where I was going to leave it up to these guys, having communications with the training staff and see how it reacted. I didn’t expect anything but I didn’t limit myself either.”

Sizemore has spent the majority of his career hitting leadoff, manning the top spot in 705 games with the No. 2 hole serving as his second-most popular position by a wide margin (61 games).

“I feel comfortable anywhere,” said Sizemore, who has a .366 on-base percentage and .853 OPS in the leadoff spot for his career. “Obviously I’ve been there most of my career so I’m used it, but honestly it doesn’t matter. As long as I’ve been in the big leagues I’ve pretty much been the leadoff spot. I wasn’t really a power guy until I got in the big leagues.”

What is manager John Farrell expecting of Sizemore in his Red Sox spring debut?

“Just to get a couple of at-bats, like all the other position players,” Farrell said. “With Grady particularly, there’s been so much made about what he’s come off of, it’s probably the day after he’s on the field in games and how he comes out of those physically.

“We probably look at it like every seven or eight days and maybe it’s three to four games, in that eight day span, just to gradually get some information on him physically. We gave him a day off two days ago when it wasn’t requested on his part. We just got him off his feet, more precautionary, just to balance out the fact that there’s been a couple-year gap here and yet he’s get back at it every day. So far, so good.”

Farrell was asked if Sizemore would get a chance to play all three outfield positions.

“In time. We just want to get his legs underneath him, getting on the field, first and foremost,” Farrell said. “If he appears in those three spots, I think that’s probably likely at some point but primarily I would see him in left and center.

“I think the one thing we’ve established here is that we have a very good medical staff that is here to help guys. There’s been many, many cases where they’ve kept guys on the field. I don’t think there’s reluctance on the player’s part when he has physical needs. That’s part of the atmosphere here, that they’re not going to be looked upon negatively if there are [medical] needs.”

The following is the lineup the Red Sox will send out against the Huskies at JetBlue Park:

Grady Sizemore LF

Dustin Pedroia 2B

David Ortiz DH

Mike Napoli 1B

Jonny Gomes RF

Xander Bogaerts SS

Will Middlebrooks 3B

Ryan Lavarnway C

Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

Brandon Workman P

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