Jon Lester officially named Red Sox Opening Day starter

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester winds up for a throw during spring training baseball practice, Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, in Fort Myers, Fla. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Lefthander Jon Lester will start on Opening Day for the fourth time on Monday.

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Red Sox manager John Farrell took a seat in the Red Sox dugout at JetBlue Park Thursday afternoon, spilled out a few nuggets of information, then admitted it was a “slow day in the Fort.’’

For the most part, that’s the way it’s been here this spring. The Sox played the Twins (who else?) in their final spring night game Thursday and will wrap up with two more against the Twins (who else?), Friday at Hammond Stadium and Saturday afternoon at JetBlue.

We learned Thursday that Jon Lester is going to be the Sox’ Opening Day starter in Baltimore Monday afternoon. This has been obvious for several weeks, but the Sox didn’t make it official until Thursday. Farrell capped off his announcement, saying, “And the Earth is round.’’


The Red Sox were also expected to make some cuts Thursday as they adjust the roster for Opening Day. However, the down-to-the-wire selection of Grady Sizemore or Jackie Bradley Jr. as starting center fielder is expected to be announced Friday. Sizemore is expected to get the nod with JBJ starting the season in Pawtucket.

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There was a shred of news regarding the Sox outfield and leadoff spots. The Sox are reluctant to use Sizemore in the leadoff spot and Farrell said he like the former Indians All-Star batting in the five- or six-hole. The manager indicated Daniel Nava would probably bat leadoff against righthanded pitching, which leaves Shane Victorino or Jonny Gomes as possibilities against lefty starters.

Victorino (sore left side) has played in only eight big league exhibition games, but Thursday played nine innings and got three hits in six at-bats in a minor league game against Twins farmhands. Farrell said Victorino would play against the Twins big leaguers Thursday, adding, “I think he’s ready to go.’’

The Sox prefer keeping Victorino in right, but plan to use Victorino in center, possibly late in games if/when Sizemore needs a break.