In the climax to the feel-good story of spring training, the Red Sox have selected Bradley to the major league roster before the 3 p.m. deadline to submit rosters for Opening Day. Bradley will start in left field tomorrow, according to manager John Farrell, making the 22-year-old the youngest position player to start Opening Day since second baseman Donnie Sadler in 1998. To open a spot on the 40-man roster, the Sox designated first baseman Mauro Gomez for assignment. Two months ago, Bradley seemed preordained to start another season in the minors. But David Ortiz' protracted recovery from an Achilles injury paved the way for the 22-year-old outfielder to make the team and play every day. Manager John Farrell said Bradley was told on the plane Saturday night that he had made the team. "At 35,000 feet, he couldn't jump any higher," Farrell said. Bradley had a dazzling spring, batting .419 (26-for-62) with two homers, 12 RBI and four doubles and passing every test imaginable, from adapting to left field to hitting a homer against Phillies ace lefty Cliff Lee last Sunday. The clincher may have come last Monday when Bradley came off the bench and lined a two-run single against tough Orioles reliever Pedro Strop. "I think he's done a great job," starter Jon Lester said. "He came in with really no expectations of making the club as far as us or (the media). I would imagine he came in with that expectation, and he's done a great job of handling everything. He worked his butt off. It's fun to watch him in the outfield. He gets great jumps on the ball. He's a professional at the plate."
Jackie Bradley Jr. to start in LF for Red Sox on Opening Day
Boston Herald | Mar 31