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Projecting the Red Sox’ roster, version 2.0

Boston Red Sox's Jackie Bradley Jr., center, waits his turn in the batting cage before an exhibition spring training baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles in Sarasota, Fla.,Saturday, March 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

Jackie Bradley Jr. figures to be one of five outfielders to make the roster in Peter Abraham’s latest projections.

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Our first version of projecting the Red Sox’ opening-day roster was on Feb. 25. There are a few changes since.

STARTING PITCHERS (5)

LHP Jon Lester

Continue reading below

RHP John Lackey

LHP Felix Doubront

RHP Jake Peavy

RHP Clay Buchholz

Explanation: Same as it ever was. The starters are lined up a little differently than expected with Buchholz the No. 5. But the five in the rotation have stayed the same.

RELIEF PITCHERS (7)

RHP Koji Uehara

RHP Junichi Tazawa

LHP Andrew Miller

RHP Brandon Workman

RHP Edward Mujica

RHP Burke Badenhop

LHP Chris Capuano

Explanation: Craig Breslow has yet to pitch in a game and the season starts on March 31. It doesn’t seem reasonable to expect him to be ready in time, so Workman slides in. The Red Sox could look to maintain control over more pitchers by keeping the surprising Francisco Cordero and optioning Workman to Triple A.

The Sox really like lefty Tommy Layne. Remember that name for down the road.

CATCHERS (2)

A.J. Pierzynski

David Ross

Explanation: No changes. The Sox have enviable depth here as Christian Vazquez and Ryan Lavarnway are ready if a need arises.

DESIGNATED HITTER (1)

David Ortiz

Explanation: It has been a quiet camp for Big Papi. A contract extension seems imminent given his cheery mood.

INFIELD (5)

1B Mike Napoli

2B Dustin Pedroia

SS Xander Bogaerts

3B Will Middlebrooks

UTIL Jonathan Herrera

Explanation: Stephen Drew’s name doesn’t come up much these days. The Sox are pleased with the attention to detail shown by Bogaerts and Middlebrooks. The Red Sox gave up Franklin Morales to get Herrera from the Rockies, so he has the inside track on a bench job. But that is a spot that could get upgraded at some point.

OUTFIELD (5)

RF Shane Victorino

CF Jackie Bradley Jr.

LF Jonny Gomes

LF-RF-1B Daniel Nava

LF-1B Mike Carp

Explanation: Grady Sizemore is ostensibly in competition with Bradley to play center field. But you know who has never said that? Grady Sizemore. He talks very cautiously about his status and has never said he feels ready to be an everyday player again. Manager John Farrell has been ultra-cautious in discussing Sizemore, too.

The guess here is that the Red Sox have an informal deal with Sizemore to spend some time in Triple A to start the season. Either that or they’ll trade Carp and use Sizemore of the bench.

The Sox have 13 games in 14 days to start the season. How could they start the season without Bradley? The odds of Sizemore being able to start 13 games in 14 days in April, especially in cold weather, are beyond slim.

Whether Sizemore is playing on Opening Day is not particularly important. It’s building him back up to be a player over the course of the season that matters. The Sox seem to be willing to make this a methodical process.

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