FORT MYERS, Fla. — Grady Sizemore played in a minor league game Wednesday and went 3 for 4 with a double.
Jackie Bradley Jr. played Wednesday night in the major league game and doubled in his first at-bat.
“We have a competition in center field,” Red Sox Manager John Farrell said.
The battle between Bradley and Sizemore may take a while to be settled. Could Sizemore become the starter after missing the past two seasons because of injury?
“We’ll probably have a better read on that in another 10 days,” Farrell said.
While Sizemore would appear to be the favorite, based on his proven ability, especially with the bat, Farrell tapped the brakes on those expectations.
“We’d like to have a crystal ball,” Farrell said. “When we signed Grady, we knew there would be a number of questions to answer. He’s answering some of those.”
Key word: some.
“Also, looking at it from a big picture perspective – what gives us the best possibility to have a productive player over the long run?” Farrell said. “That includes a gradual buildup. How do we get to that? That’s what we’re still working through. Part of that will be accomplished in spring training.”
But it may be impossible to gauge Sizemore’s durability in March. The Red Sox are going to “amp up” Sizemore’s schedule, to use Farrell’s words. He will play nine innings in Thursday night’s game against the Yankees. Then after a break Friday, he is tentatively scheduled to play three straight days.
Sizemore may do great, but Boston may not feel he’s ready yet for the grind of a whole season. He could start the season on the disabled list, play in extended spring-training games in Fort Myers and, eventually go on a minor league rehab assignment before joining the majors.
Or Sizemore breaks camp with the Red Sox and Bradley goes to Pawtucket.
Both players will get an opportunity to prove themselves. Farrell had indicated that Daniel Nava would get a chance to play center field, and has decided that will take place in minor league games.
“The majority of the reps will come between Jackie and Grady,” Farrell said. “So we might see Daniel Nava in center field in a Triple-A game.”
RYAN LAVARNWAY was once considered the No. 3 catcher for the Red Sox. He may be the No. 3 catcher in Pawtucket this year. But Lavarnway will still play.
Because of Boston’s catching logjam, the Red Sox have asked Lavarnway to play first base as well as catch.
“It’s going well,” Lavarnway said matter-of-factly. “Trying to learn how to do things the right way.”
Lavarnway already has played four games at first this spring.
“He’s adapted quickly to the position,” Farrell said. “He has very good aptitude and, after a week with (fielding coach Brian Butterfield), we didn’t hesitate to put him in the game. He’s doing a good job over there.”
Boston has five catchers on the 40-man roster – A.J. Pierzynski and David Ross on the major league team, and Lavarnway Dan Butler and Christian Vazquez all set for Triple-A Pawtucket.
“We want to create come versatility with (Lavarnway) just to ensure he has the ability to get the number of at-bats we hope to get him,” Farrell said, “and to increase his value on the roster.”
Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at: