Bradley Jr. excited for MLB debut with Red Sox

Bradley Jr. excited for MLB debut with Red Sox
April 1, 2013, 1:15 pm
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(USA Today Sports Images)

NEW YORK -- You never forget your major league debut. And Jackie Bradley Jr, 22, isn't likely to forget his.
     
Bradley, until recently a longshot to make the Red Sox Opening Day roster, was in left field, batting eighth as the Red Sox opened the 2013 season at Yankee Stadium.
     
"I went to sleep probably around 11 last night," said Bradley, surrounded by reporters at his locker before the game. "I actually woke up before my alarm this morning, so I was well awake. I'm ready. I'm excited and I can't really wait to play."
     
It won't be an easy matchup for the rookie in his debut, matched against lefty CC Sabathia.
     
"I watched him on TV multiple years," he said. "He's definitely a veteran guy. I'm pretty excited to face him."
     
A natural center fielder, Bradley will be in left while he's here and there's still some adjustment to the new position.
     
"It's still a work in progress," said Bradley. "I'm still getting used to it -- different angles and stuff like that. But I can adjust.''
     
The rookie's athleticism in the outfield, even at a new position, is a chief attribute for the Sox.
     
"What we've seen in spring training so far is a very good defender," said manager John Farrell. "He's a mature young player at 22 years of age, a very consistent apppoach at the plate. He clearly makes our outfield defense better today. What he produces offensively remains to be seen.
     
"We'll certainly take what he did in spring training. But we're excited to start his career today."
     
But Farrell was non-committal when asked how long Bradley might remain with the team and in the lineup.
     
"That remains to be seen," said Farrell. "We can't predict past today, so more than anything, we want Jackie to just go out and play his game, be himself. I know those are very simple answers but so much is out of a given player's control. But if he performs well, these situations have a way of working themselves out."
     
Bradley's family is in New York and at the game. On Sunday night, they went out to dinner and did some sightseeing in New York.