BOSTON -- Jackie Bradley Jr. is out of the starting lineup for the first time since April 4. For 14 consecutive games Bradley Jr. has started in either center field or right field, but he's getting a night off on Saturday.
Red Sox manager John Farrell said that the rookie would be back out on the field for Monday morning's Patriots Day game.
Bradley Jr. has been a revelation in the outfield and Farrell said that the team's defense in center field has been "solidified" with Bradley Jr. patrolling it. He's hitting .220/.339/.280 this season with nine walks and seven RBI, and while those numbers aren't at all overwhelming, Farrell said he thought Bradley Jr. looks more comfortable at the plate.
"More of a known commodity of what pitchers are trying to do to attack him," Farrell said. "I think he's just become more familiar with the major league environment."
Farrell did admit, however, that Bradley Jr.'s strikeout rate is higher than anyone in the organization -- including Bradley Jr. -- would prefer. He has struck out 18 times in 59 plate appearances. That's a 30 percent strikeout rate.
"Even he acknowledges the frequency of strikeouts have been greater than what he's experienced at the minor-league level," Farrell said. "He's also facing very good pitching every time he walks on the field. This is . . . it's a different challenge at this level. Along the way, with young players, there's gonna be some ebb and flow to the performance, and we have to remain patient to that."
Grady Sizemore is leading off and playing center field against the Orioles on Sunday. It's the third different outfield position he has played in three nights. On Saturday, he played right field for the first time in his major-league career and made two catches. One came up against the wall by Pesky's Pole. The other was a sliding grab he had to charge.
"He was fine," Farrell said of Sizemore in right. "Wasn't challenged all that much with a couple plays made. There's certainly a willingness on our part depending on who's available and who the starting pitcher is against us in a given day to have him at all three outfield positions."