For the first time in his major-league career, Grady Sizemore will start in left field on Thursday night when the Red Sox take on the Yankees in the first game of a four-game series.
Sizemore, who will hit leadoff, has never played anywhere but center field in his career except for some action in left field he saw while in the minor leagues.
Jackie Bradley Jr. will take over in center at Yankee Stadium and hit ninth.
The moves may be a sign of what two-thirds of the Red Sox outfield could look like when Shane Victorino comes off of the 15-day disabled list. Scheduled to be activated next week, Victorino could man his usual spot in right field while Bradley could play in center with Sizemore in left.
Bradley has looked like the better defensive player than Sizemore early this season, and the rookie certainly has the stronger arm, which may explain why he'd get the nod for center-field duty.
Both players have been among Boston's best at the plate, and manager John Farrell may be reluctant to take either out of the lineup.
In fact, Bradley and Sizemore, statistically, might be the team's best offensive players in the early going. They are No. 1 and 2 for the Red Sox in both average (Bradley: .400; Sizemore .364) and on-base percentage (Bradley: .478; Sizemore: 440).
If the Red Sox need to clear a spot on the big-league roster to make room for Victorino when he comes off the DL, and if Bradley continues to thrive, the team has the ability to option outfielder Daniel Nava to Triple-A Pawtucket.
Nava has struggled in his opportunities so far in 2014. He's hitting .125 with a .200 on-base percentage, 1 RBI, 1 walk and 7 strikeouts in 32 at-bats. He's playing in right field and batting fifth against the Yankees on Thursday.