TAMPA, Fla. -- With Opening Day a mere 12 days away, Red Sox manager John Farrell is starting to contemplate some lineup scenarios, knowing full well that two left-handed hitters (David Ortiz and Stephen Drew) are all but certain to open the season on the disabled list.
The biggest area of debate is who will bat second -- both against righties and lefties. Dustin Pedroia is likely to hit third as long as Ortiz is on the shelf.
"We're still looking at what we do in that two-hole against right-handed starters," said Farrell. "You love what Jonny [Gomes] and Shane [Victorino] can do against left-handed pitching. Jonny had a lot of success in the two-hole last year when he was with Oakland, particularly in the second half of the season. Against a lefty, we've got some options there."
Perhaps switch-hitter Daniel Nava, who is known for his on-base capability, will settle in as the No. 2 hitter against righties. Nava is a stronger hitter from the left side.
[Against right-handed pitchers], that's where I think Nava's situation comes a little bit more clear," Farrell said. "He's swung the bat very well from the left-handed side of the plate, and yet we're not completely settled on what other left-handers will be on the club."
Jackie Bradley Jr., who is ranked the club's No. 2 prospect by MLB.com, is a left-handed hitter, and Farrell didn't rule it out entirely that he could make the team to help fill the void left by Ortiz and Drew.
However, as of Wednesday morning, Farrell still hadn't decided how Bradley -- a center fielder -- would align in an outfield that also includes Jacoby Ellsbury and Victorino. Ellsbury is a sure thing to play center. Though Victorino has played center most of his career, the Red Sox signed him to be their right fielder.
"Where would you like them to play? Is that to feed the Jackie Bradley fire?" Farrell said jokingly. "I can't say that we wouldn't [play the trio together]. You know, if we were to do it, we'd probably take a look at it on the road somewhere. We want Shane to get as accustomed to right field in our dimensions as much possible. I wouldn't say we wouldn't put Jackie in left -- but I don't see Jackie Bradley as a left fielder."