Ben Cherington would be lying if he said he ignored the potential business ramifications of putting phenom Jackie Bradley Jr. on the Opening Day roster. As general manager of the Red Sox, Cherington never would be so shortsighted.

But the immediate benefits of keeping Bradley outweighed any long-term issues.

“As much as you can assign value to (major league) service time down the road — and a lot of things can still happen after Opening Day to affect that service issue — you can also assign value to right now, assign value to what you feel is the best 25 guys,” Cherington told the Herald yesterday. “Right now, there’s value in that, too.”

If the Red Sox had left Bradley in the minors until April 12, they could have called the outfielder up before their 10th game and assured that he wouldn’t accrue enough major league service time to become a free agent until after the 2019 season. But then Bradley wouldn’t have been on hand to help the Sox during the majority of a season-opening stretch in which they play 13 consecutive games against AL East opponents.

And with the division seemingly up for grabs, this could be an important stretch.

“There’s no doubt a game in April is just as important as a game in August, and when you’re playing division opponents, it’s possible in the end that those games could count twice,” Cherington said. “At the end, if there was that level of confidence that he was part of the best 25-man roster, then we felt he should be on the team. That’s part of our responsibility to the fans and to the organization.”

Bradley proved again in the 8-2 victory that he belongs.

In addition to seeing 26 pitches in five plate appearances and becoming the first player with at least three walks and one RBI in his major league debut since the Chicago White Sox’ Ray Morehart in 1924, he contributed to a four-run second inning by beating out a possible force play at second base. In the third inning, Bradley added a dazzling catch in left field, racing to the warning track to haul in a Robinson Cano drive that went over his head.