Outfield health may force Sox to adjust roster

Outfield health may force Sox to adjust roster
September 27, 2013, 8:45 pm
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BALTIMORE - For most of the month of September, the Red Sox have figured they would go with 11 pitchers for the Division Series which gets underway in a week.     

Now, that could be under review.     

The health of two starting outfielders - Jacoby Ellsbury (foot) and Shane Victorino (thumb) -- may require the Red Sox to carry an extra outfielder for insurance. And that in turn, could mean one less pitcher for the first round.     

In all likelihood, the Sox could survive on 10 pitchers, since there are two off-days (one after Game 2 and another after Game 4) built into the schedule. Also, if history is any guide, the Sox have never used more than nine pitchers in a five-game playoff series.     

Taking 10 pitchers would leave the Sox with 15 position players.

Beyond the starting nine, that would leave bench players Mike Carp, David Ross and Jonny Gomes as certain inclusions. Also pinch-runner Quintin Berry and infielder Xander Bogaerts would seem assured of places on the Division Series roster.     

That would mean one more position player. Jackie Bradley Jr., capable of playing all three outfield spots, would be excellent insurance should anything happen to either Ellsbury or Victorino over the course of the series.    

If the Sox go with 10 pitchers -- four starters and six relievers -- it could cost someone like Felix Doubront or Matt Thornton a chance to make the first-round roster.     

The Sox would go with four starting pitchers -- Jon Lester, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz and Jake Peavy -- and six relievers. Five of those relievers are pretty set: Koji Uehara, Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa, Brandon Workman and Ryan Dempster.     

A sixth spot would likely go to Franklin Morales, whose stuff has been sharp this month. It was telling that the Sox went with Morales over Thornton in a late-game lefty matchup spot against Todd Helton  Wednesday night in Colorado.

That would leave one spot for another lefty, likely either Doubront or Thornton.