Until recently, we were asking how the Boston Red Sox will fit seven major-league outfielders into three spots.

Now we’re not asking those questions.

Rusney Castillo was the first injury of spring training, going down with an oblique injury last week. He’s progressing ahead of schedule and should be ready for the start of the season.

Over the weekend Shane Victorino was shut down with “general soreness.” The Flyin’ Hawaiian was supposed to be back in the lineup Monday, but the decision was made to wait at least another day before putting him back into game action.

In both cases, the Sox are being overly cautious. These are the early days of camp, and there’s no reason to rush anyone back onto the field. They will be especially careful with Castillo since oblique injuries can be tricky for baseball players who must twist and turn in every at-bat.

They’ve also got the depth to handle these issues. Hanley Ramirez and Mookie Betts are ready to go, and a third outfield position can be filled by Allen Craig, Daniel Nava, Brock Holt or a number of other players.

Jackie Bradley, Jr. has quietly re-emerged as a contender for a spot on the Red Sox roster. A year ago he was named the starting center fielder but struggled mightily at the plate. Bradley – a Gold Glove finalist last season – hit just .198 and was eventually bumped from the lineup by Betts.

Bradley is one of the elite outfield defenders in the game. In fact, his manager thinks there’s no one better.

“In my mind he’s the best (defensive) center fielder in baseball,” Manager John Farrell said two weeks ago in Fort Myers, “and I’m not afraid of saying that.”

Even if you are the best center fielder in the game, you’ve got to hit. At least a little bit. Bradley has yet to do that. The .198 batting average last season actually improved his career big-league average to .196. He and his team knows he’s got to do better.

“He’s an extremely talented guy,” said Farrell. “There has been some offensive challenges, but we don’t deny what he can do, and he can play center field as good as anybody.”

In the early days of camp Farrell made it clear that Bradley will have a chance to play his way back into the picture of this deep group of outfielders. With a couple of early bumps and bruises the door has been opened for Bradley to get even more of a chance to shine.

With this many players fighting for attention you can never be sure if a team feels that strongly about a player, or whether management is trying to build up the value of someone to move him before the end of camp.

Either way, Bradley was once one of the top young prospects in the system. At 24 years old he likely still has a long career ahead of him. That career may resume in Pawtucket this spring, because he still has minor-league options.

Or, it may be with the big club on opening day in Philadelphia. That will depend on how Bradley performs in Florida this month. And on how the rest of the outfield responds to the physical demands of preseason camp.

Tom Caron is the studio host for the Red Sox broadcast on NESN. His column appears in the Portland Press Herald on Tuesdays.