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Projecting the Red Sox roster

John Farrell and the Red Sox front office have some decisions to make about the team’s roster.

David Goldman/AP

John Farrell and the Red Sox front office have some decisions to make about the team’s roster.

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Now that the workouts are over and the games have started in spring training, let’s take a shot at predicting the Red Sox Opening Day roster.

ROTATION (5)

LHP Jon Lester

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RHP Clay Buchholz

RHP Ryan Dempster

LHP Felix Doubront

RHP John Lackey

Breakdown: Now that Buchholz and Doubront have been scheduled for their first starts, the picture is pretty clear. John Farrell has his starters lined up and in their five-day routines. Only some sort of injury could change this before Opening Day. Doubront does not have options, so even pitching poorly this spring wouldn’t change much. He’ll get the benefit of the doubt based on last season. If somebody does get hurt, Alfredo Aceves, Franklin Morales, Allen Webster and Steven Wright are lined up as depth.

BULLPEN (7)

RHP Joel Hanrahan

RHP Andrew Bailey

RHP Junichi Tazawa

RHP Koji Uehara

LHP Franklin Morales

LHP Andrew Miller

RHP Clayton Mortensen

Breakdown: This is the toughest unit of the team to predict because there are 10 legitimate candidates. LHP Craig Breslow seems like a candidate for the disabled list based on his being shut down from throwing. RHP Daniel Bard still has options and probably needs to prove himself before he can be trusted again. That leaves either Mortensen or Aceves for the final spot. Farrell seems to really like Mortensen but Aceves is more talented and has more experience. The question is how much eccentric behavior are the Sox willing to put up with?

Just a guess, but the Sox could be hoping Aceves pitches well in the WBC so they can trade him for something more than the bag of rocks they would get now. The other option would be sending Tazawa back to the minors. But if the idea is to win, he should stay if he pitches reasonably well this spring. He has some of the best stuff on the team. The Red Sox need a good start more than they need to avoid exposing middle relievers to waivers.

LINEUP (9)

CF Jacoby Ellsbury

2B Dustin Pedroia

DH David Ortiz

1B Mike Napoli

3B Will Middlebrooks

LF Jonny Gomes

RF Shane Victorino

SS Stephen Drew

C Jarrod Saltalamacchia

Breakdown: It remains safe to assume that Ortiz and Napoli will be ready to go by Opening Day. Beyond that, no positions are remotely open. These are the starters, barring injury or something really unexpected. There’s not enough power in the outfield, especially against righthanded pitching. But that was the tradeoff to get a better glove in right field in Victorino and the magic team-building character of Gomes.

BENCH (4)

C David Ross

1B-LF Mike Carp

2B-SS-3B Pedro Ciriaco

RF-CF-LF Ryan Sweeney

Breakdown: For now, we’ll stick with the safe selections. Ross is a lock for the bench with Ryan Lavarnway getting an unwelcome trip to Pawtucket. Beyond that, there is fevered competition for the various roles. Lyle Overbay, Daniel Nava or even Mark Hamilton could grab the 1B-LF job. But Carp probably offers the most upside. Brock Holt could beat out Ciriaco. And the extra outfielder could be somebody other than Sweeney, although keeping Jackie Bradley Jr. makes no sense unless he starts.

There is really no reason to get too worked up about the bench guys. These are largely interchangeable pieces.

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