Red Sox manager John Farrell offered a few roster updates on Friday morning, saying that first baseman/outfielder Mike Carp and right-hander Clayton Mortensen had both made the team, but suggesting that the team has not yet finalized the decision about whether or not Jackie Bradley Jr. will be on the team and in the starting lineup on Monday for the team’s opener against the Yankees.
Because Bradley is not on the 40-man roster, Farrell suggested, the team must still resolve some roster matters before making a final call on the rookie. Presumably, those issues include:
A) Whether or not Ryan Sweeney will exercise his right to opt out of his minor league contract or accept an assignment to Triple-A Pawtucket;
B) If he does opt out, whether or not the team would exercise its right to add him to the major league roster within the next 48 hours; and
C) The creation of a spot on the 40-man roster for either Bradley or Sweeney. (One possibility: Farrell said that left-hander Franklin Morales would be stretched out as a starter while rehabbing from his lower back injury, a process that will require him to build up his workload deliberately in extended spring training. The team could, at least in theory, have him open the year on the 60-day disabled list in order to open up a spot on the 40-man roster. Alternately, the team could be using this weekend to see if any of its minor leaguers who represent depth options on the fringes of the 40-man roster clear outright waivers.)
“To get [Bradley on the team], we’ve got to work through the roster to get to that point. That’s why it’s not a given, it’s not an absolute that he’s in New York,” Farrell told reporters in Fort Myers. “We’ve got some things to work through. He’s done a great job. We’ve talked about it — and rightfully so — daily, but we’re not going to officially announce it.
“We’re at the point where we’re working through some final roster situations,” he added. “We’ve got a 48-hour window to respond to Ryan Sweeney’s situation. We’re at 40 [on the 40-man roster] currently, so any changes to that would require a process that we’re going to have to go through, so we’re not at the final 25 [players on the big league roster for Opening Day] or the final 40 yet.”
Farrell said that the final decision could wait as long as Sunday afternoon, when the team is required to submit its roster.
Meanwhile, Farrell said, Carp has been told that he’ll make the team at the conclusion of a spring in which he hit .190 with a .244 OBP, one homer and two doubles in 45 plate appearances.
“He’s going to come off the bench, pinch-hit, occasional start, the flexibility to go to first or left field if we do pinch-hit or have changes in other areas. That hasn’t changed since the day he walked in. That’s been consistent,” Farrell said. “[Carp's ability to play both first base and outfield is] very important. It was probably the difference between, if we were to compare guys who we’re talking about this morning, the ability to go to first base weighed heavily in this. You can say it was a deciding factor, defensive versatility. That’s not to take anything away from Ryan Sweeney — he’s a very good player, can play all three outfield positions. We felt like that flexibility to go to first base was key in this.”
Other player updates:
– Sweeney has until midnight tonight to make a decision about whether or not to opt out of his contract. From there, the Sox would have 48 hours to decide whether or not to add him to the 25-man roster or permit him to leave as a free agent. The outfielder remains in Sox camp today and will take batting practice.
“At this point in time, we’re of the understanding that he’ll remain. He has, obviously, the remainder of today to make that official or not, but that’s our understanding based on the conversation yesterday,” said Farrell.
– David Ortiz will continue the same baseball activities in which he’s been participating for more than a week.
“The consistency to those activities is a positive. There’s been no minor setbacks along the way,” Farrell told reporters.
– The Sox will build Morales’ innings load to the point where he can start. The left-hander is slated for the first time in weeks to throw off a mound this weekend. The Sox anticipate “probably more of a progression” to get his workload built up than would have been the case if the team was simply preparing him for relief duty,” Farrell told reporters.