Monday April 08, 2013 | 12:27 PM

BOSTON — Happy Opening Day from Fenway Park. The Boston Red Sox - or if you like your glass half-full, the FIRST-PLACE Boston Red Sox - take on the Baltimore Orioles today at 2 p.m.

Jackie Bradley Jr., the rookie sensation, is not in the lineup. (See the lineups below)

Ryan Flaherty, the kid from Portland who played his way onto the Orioles major league roster for the second straight year, is starting at second base. Maybe manager Buck Showalter likes the fact that Flaherty is batting .400 against Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz, albeit a small sample size (2-for-5).

J.J. Hardy has also had success against Buchholz (6-for-13, .462).

Boston has little experience against Orioles lefty Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with Baltimore last year.

Chen’s presence is one reason why Bradley is not in the lineup. In Bradley’s first three games in Yankee Stadium, he batted only .200 (2-for-10), but had three walks, three RBI and only two strikeouts. In his three games in Toronto, Bradley was 1-for-11 with two walks, no RBI and five strikeouts.

Switch-hitter Daniel Nava will start in left field.

“Last couple-three games, (Bradley) has been pitched to consistently,” manager John Farrell said, in a euphemism that mean he is struggling. “Against another good left-hander, it was a chance to get Nava’s right-handed bat in there.”

Nava is better as a left-handed batter, but Farrell called him a “confident offensive player right now.”

In injury, the Red Sox are still waiting for a definitive diagnosis of John Lackey, who left Saturday’s game with a strained bicep. Farrell said Lackey will undergo more tests today.

“There has not been any detection of a tear,” Farrell said. “We’re in a 48-72 hour recovery period. No roster move to announce right now. Following the MRI, it showed some inflammation in the bicep. That’s been it.

“He’s set for a re-exam today. After we get that information, we’ll map out a plan of attack.”

Back in Fort Myers, designated hitter will take part in a simulated game. He is scheduled to play in a couple of extended spring training games after that. If all goes well, he could begin a rehab assignment, likely with Pawtucket.

Enjoy the game. A reminder to follow us on twitter: @ClearTheBases

Now for the lineups:

Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Shane Victorino RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Mike Napoli 1B
Will Middlebrooks 3B
Daniel Nava LF
Jonny Gomes DH
David Ross C
Jose Iglesias SS
(Clay Buchholz P)

Nate McLouth LF
Manny Machado 3B
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Matt Wieters C
J.J. Hardy SS
Ryan Flaherty 2B
Steve Pearce DH
(Wei-Yin Chen)

About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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