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Pregame notes: John Farrell says Grady Sizemore has forced center field competition

03.15.14 at 4:21 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Prior to his team’s spring training game against the Phillies Saturday night at JetBlue Park, Red Sox manager John Farrell confirmed that both the utility infielder and center fielder spots were up for grabs with just more than two weeks to go until Opening Day.

Regarding the starting center field position, Farrell said that the organization’s view had changed regarding who might be the starter as camp has unfolded.

“We came into camp with Jackie [Bradley Jr.] as the guy,” the manager said. “We projected him as the starting center fielder and I don’t think anything has radically changed that thought. But we can’t deny the thought that Grady Sizemore has looked very well in camp. We’re still in the process of trying to get our arms around his durability. We’ll extend him a little bit tonight where he’s going to go, maybe 7-8 innings tonight, possibly a full game, so we’re starting to get a little more of a test, and maybe answers to some of those tests.”

Farrell also reiterated that Brock Holt and Jonathan Herrera are in the mix to get the role of utility infielder, with the team prioritizing the ability to field the shortstop position when making a judgment for who might win the job.

The duo has played second base, shortstop and third base throughout the Grapefruit League games, with each considering third base the position they have the least experience at.

Both Holt and Herrera have options and can be sent to the minors without clearing waivers.

– Will Middlebrooks had Saturday night’s game off, with the team deciding to allow his jammed right, middle finger to heal. The third baseman is expected to play either Sunday (at Tampa Bay) or Monday (home against St. Louis).

– Farrell highlighted the progress made by catchers Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart since last spring training, saying each had made “sizable strides.” The manager said that — thanks in part to his improved offensive approach — there would be no hesitation to call-up Vazquez if there was a need at the major league level.

– Saturday night’s starter, Jon Lester, is expected to make his next start at JetBlue Park even though it’s against the Yankees.

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