Depth is key as outfield sorts out issues

BOSTON -- Grady Sizemore returns to the Red Sox lineup Friday after receiving his first game off the night before in Baltimore.

There will be more periods of rest for Sizemore -- including a likely day off Sunday -- as he works his way back from a two-year layoff, but manager John Farrell is confident in the game plan to not only get his starting center fielder the recovery time he needs but to also mix in others who can help in other ways.

“More than anything we’ve got a number of quality players we can pick from,” Farrell said. “Given the constraints that we’re dealing with Grady and the number of games per week that we set out to play, we’ve got very good depth and good players to go to.”

The rotations in the Red Sox outfield were rather set in stone last season. There was a virtual platoon in left field and an established plan in the event guys like Jacoby Ellsbury or Shane Victorino went down. Already in 2014, Farrell has had to address matters in the outfield as the Sox manage the Sizemore situation and deal with Victorino’s season-opening stint on the disabled list.

Jackie Bradley Jr. stepped in for Sizemore on Thursday and had a pair of hits and an RBI. Daniel Nava has handled right field. Through Friday, Mike Carp and Jonny Gomes will have split the four starts in left.

“I wouldn’t say it’s challenging, I think it’s kind of exciting to be able to rotate a number of good players through the lineup,” Farrell said of the everyday assessment of the outfield.

As for Sizemore, the plan is progressing perfectly so far.

“Grady’s been involved in the building out of progression from day one,” Farrell added. “I think the biggest thing is we look at the big picture with him while keeping his progression growing.

“We’re also looking at some point this season where he becomes an everyday player for us and some of the restrictions that we’re dealing with right now, they get taken away completely. So far, so good. It’s only been two games but he’s responded to everything that we’ve put in front of him favorably from a physical side.”

Barring anything unforeseen, Sizemore will be back in the starting lineup again Saturday. Farrell will assess Sizemore’s status Sunday, which is a day game after a night game.