FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Sunday will begin a stretch of three straight games for outfielder Grady Sizemore, a key test for the Red Sox to determine his ability to handle the regular season workload.
But while the Red Sox look for clues as to how he responds, Sizemore himself isn't looking at this as any new test.
"I don't really expect any changes,'' he said. "It will be good to get out there and get some work, but based on how everything's gone so far, I don't see anything different happening over the next week.''
While the Sox do the evaluating and projecting, Sizemore merely is going about his daily routine.
"I'm just going to continue to try to get work and try to get the conditioning that you get from playing games,'' said Sizemore, "and use the volume and reps to try to get timing down and get the feel back. I don't think there's any particular goals or landmarks I'm looking to climb. It's just a matter, like I said, of getting the reps and feeling good and putting back-to-back days together and building off each day and moving forward.''
The plan calls for Sizemore to play Sunday against the Rays in Fort Myers, then travel to Sarasota Monday to face Baltimore, then Port Charlotte Tuesday against the Rays again.
"Everything's been good,'' he said. "As far as recovery goes, everything's been really good. I've been happy, felt good coming (each day after playing), better than I expected. I'm just hoping to that trend keeps up and I can keep building and we'll see where we're at in the next week to 10 days.''
· Other than Sizemore, the only roster spot up for grabs is a spot in the bullpen.
If lefty Craig Breslow -- who hasn't pitched in a game but is set to do so Monday against the Orioles -- is deemed ready later this week, he'll open as one of the seven relievers in the bullpen.
If, on the other hand, the Sox determined that Breslow needs anotherweek or so to get ready, the club will likely go with Brandon Workman in that spot.
"It's just kind of the way it is,'' said Workman. "It's kind of out of my hands, really, other than how I throw the baseball. I try not to think about much else, other than just performing when I have the ball and let the rest take care of itself.''
That leaves Workman unsure of where he'll open the season -- Boston or Pawtucket -- and thus, unclear of what his role will be to start the year.
If he's in Pawtucket, he'll be part of the starting rotation. If he's in Boston, he'll be used as a reliever, at least until Breslow is ready.
"It's still pitching, either way,'' he said. "So right now, I'm just preparing to pitch as well as I can once the season begins, whether that's as a starter in Pawtucket or a reliever in Boston, or whatever it is. All I can do is, if I do break camp in a relief role, is throw the ball as well as I can and if (Breslow) comes back and that turns me into the odd-man-out, that's the way it is.
"All I can worry about is throwing the ball as well as I can when I get the chance.''
· Mike Carp was told early in camp to get some work in at third base, and has been taking grounders there regularly. He's still waiting, however, to see his first game action there.
"I'm expecting it any time soon,'' said Carp. "I'm just waiting for that opportunity.''
The Sox had planned to get Carp some innings at the position last Sunday in Port Charlotte, but when starter Will Middlebrooks has to come out of the game early because of an injured finger, the plan was scrapped.
"I was supposed to get three innings,'' recounted Sizemore. "I was all fired up. I feel pretty comfortable over there. Obviously, it's a lot different when you get game action. But it's just another glove to the bag or tricks. Anything we can do to help maximize at-bats is fine by me. That's obviously what I do best to help the team, swing the bat. If we can get a few extra ones, who knows what could happen.'