Is there enough room for Sizemore on Sox roster?

Is there enough room for Sizemore on Sox roster?
March 14, 2014, 5:00 pm
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DUNEDIN, Fla. -- In a little more than two weeks, the Red Sox must determine their Opening Day roster and for now, the situation surrounding the center field position is no more clear than it was when spring training began.
      
If anything, in fact, it's less clear.
      
That's a sign that Grady Sizemore has passed every test thrown his way. But there's still much the Red Sox don't know about Sizemore, and not much time to learn more.
      
To date, it's fair to say that Sizemore has exceeded expectations. He's been able to play in back-to-back games and thanks to the work of the training staff, has suffered no setbacks.
      
But the remaining two weeks likely won't answer the burning question: How often -- and how well -- can Sizemore play?
      
Even if Sizemore were to play nearly every remaining Grapefruit League game, it wouldn't guarantee that he could continue to do so once the grind of the regular season begins.
      
The Sox, however, can't wait until the season starts. They'll have to make determination about his availability before then, and that will be -- at best -- an educated guess.
      
The problem with Sizemore gets back to roster manipulation. It's a given that Sizemore can't be someone who can play 140 or more games. And if Sizemore makes the Opening Day roster, the Sox would need Jackie Bradley Jr. to make the team, too, to provide depth at center field.
      
There are two issues there. First, it's not wise to have Bradley, still just 23, playing just two or three times per week at the major league level. If Bradley isn't the starting center fielder, he'd be better off continuing to develop at Triple A.
      
But if Sizemore is in center, that leaves Shane Victorino as the only other viable center fielder on the roster and the Sox want to avoid shuttling him between right and center.
      
Enter Bradley.
      
But beyond the matter of Bradley sitting too often, there's the roster math. With 12 pitchers, two catchers, five infielders and DH David Oritz, the Sox have room for just five outfielders.
      
The platoon of Jonny Gomes and Daniel Nava in left plus Victorino and Sizemore get the Sox to 24 players, and Mike Carp -- the primary lefty bat off the bench -- makes 25.
      
For now, the only way to get both Sizemore and Bradley on the roster is to move Carp, which the Sox are not inclined to do.
      
There's been considerable trade interest in Carp, who posted an. 885 OPS last season and can help out at first and the outfield. Pittsburgh and Milwaukee, in particular, have an interest.
      
But dealing Carp would deplete the club's depth and remove a viable backup at both first base and DH.
      
In a sense, Sizemore's better-than-expected physical condition provides the Red Sox with an intriguing option for the outfield. But at the same time, it delivers a roster dilemma and a limited time for answers.