Morning report: Bradley in mix for opener

March, 17, 2013
3/17/13
11:38
AM ET
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Good morning from the Fort, where Red Sox manager John Farrell for the first time acknowledged that because of the unavailability of David Ortiz, the Sox are giving serious consideration to breaking camp with rookie Jackie Bradley Jr. on the big-league roster.

Farrell also reiterated the uncertainty regarding shortstop Stephen Drew, whose concussion has kept him idled and is raising the increasing likelihood that he, like Ortiz and left-handers Franklin Morales and Craig Breslow, will open the season on the disabled list.

“That’s a hell of a question,’’ Farrell said when asked about the possibility of Bradley opening the season with Boston, which he had consistently maintained was unlikely earlier in camp.

“We’ve got two weeks to determine that. He’s not on the roster right now, he’d have to be added, obviously. What the countermove to that would be has to be factored into this. Can’t deny the fact that he’s having a hell of a spring training.

“The bottom-line thing is, with any young player, whether it’s Jackie or any young position player, when they come to the big leagues you want to make sure they get regular at-bats. If those are there, that becomes part of the equation. I think most importantly, he’s doing whatever he can to impact a decision.’’

A key factor in that decision, Farrell said, is how Bradley fares against big-league pitchers as they get closer to being ready for the season.

“That situation is ongoing until ultimately a decision is [made] in the near future here.’’

Drew has not played since March 7, when he was struck in the helmet by a pitch from Minnesota’s Caleb Thielbar in the fourth inning at Hammond Stadium.

“I think the window starts to narrow a little bit,’’ Farrell said of Drew’s status. “We’re down to the final two weeks. He’s going to actually initiate some on-field activity, and that’s just go through stretching and get his arm warm, play catch. No BP. So when those symptoms are filly subsided is when he starts to ramp things up more intently and we’re not there yet.

“At some point you start to look as we get into this last stage of camp, you have to start thinking about all the options.’’

Drew signed a one-year, $9.5 million contract and as a free agent last winter, and was coming off a serious ankle injury he sustained in 2011.

“The biggest question is when he gets back in the game,’’ Farrell said. “He still has, as he described it, kind of a wavy feeling in his vision, in that feel mentally, that he has when he moves quickly or has a quick reaction to something, to stay under control.

“Unfortunately, as we said before, we felt this was going to be a couple-of-days thing, at the most. At the time he was hit, we never thought twice about it. And here we are, 10 days later, it’s still in the same situation.’’

Farrell was asked if there has been any thought to sending Drew back to Boston for further evaluation.

“He’s been in contact, as our medical staff has been in contact, with the doctor [Mickey Collins] at the University of Pittsburgh, which is probably the leading center for any head trauma or concussion that we go through,’’ Farrell said. “And he has been in daily communication with the doctor there. The symptoms are described, the physical testing that he goes through, the MRI was performed, just shows where he’s at.

“This is one of those things that time has got to be given for those symptoms to subside.’’

If Drew is not good to go on April 1, the Red Sox have several options at short: Pedro Ciriaco, who started 15 games at short last season; Brock Holt, who has played more short than second in the minors, and Jose Iglesias, the 23-year-old Cuban defector who has 35 games of big-league experience and has no peer defensively, perhaps in organized ball.

“Everyone who is in camp will be part of that discussion,’’ Farrell said.

The question about Iglesias has been his offense, and Farrell said again that he is making strides at the plate.

“We talked about his setup in the box early in camp,’’ Farrell said. “We’ve seen more consistent hard contact. You can’t be totally measured in the batting average (.237), but he’s looked aggressive at the plate.’’

Morales (bulging disk in back) is expected to begin a throwing program in the next day or two, while Ortiz still felt some discomfort running on the treadmill Saturday, and is uncertain to take batting practice on Monday.

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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