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Ellsbury is likely Farrell's leading man


BOSTON -- Manager John Farrell doesn't have to produce a lineup card for a game that matters until April 1. But he's already thinking about combinations, and it sounds as if you can expect Jacoby Ellsbury to bat in the leadoff spot.

Although Ellsbury has mainly batted first in his career, the Red Sox experimented with him in some other spots last season, with former manager Bobby Valentine batting him second 12 times and third 10 times.

Ellsbury erupted from a power standpoint in 2011, hitting 32 homers, but he went deep just four times during his injury-plagued, 74-game 2012 season.

"If guys play to their abilities, I think anybody looks at Jacoby Ellsbury as a leadoff guy with that kind of ability to not only steal bases but drive the ball with some consistency," Farrell said.

Dustin Pedroia, it would stand to reason, will just about always bat second or third.

Shane Victorino, Farrell indicated, might bounce around.

"The one variation to look at is against a left-handed pitcher. You can see Victorino in the two-hole against a lefty, you can see him down in the five-, six-hole in that area [against a righty]," Farrell said. "But I think the one thing that stands out is with [Stephen] Drew's addition and now [having Mike] Napoli, it gives us that complement and that balance left and right all the way through the lineup."

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