FORT MYERS, Fla. – John Farrell still is about to determine whether Jackie Bradley Jr. will find himself on the major league roster come Opening Day.
“That’s a hell of a question,” said Farrell when asked about the subject Sunday morning. “We’ve got two weeks to determine that.”
Bradley Jr. continues to be a hot topic in camp, particularly with the perceived open spot left at the designated hitter position due to David Ortiz’ injury.
The team is adamant that one of the conditions of Bradley Jr. being on the big league roster would be his ability to play virtually every day.
Another more subtle factor would be how being on the big league roster from the outset would effect the outfielder’s service time. If Bradley Jr. was to be called up prior to April 12 and remain in the major leagues for the next six seasons without spending fewer than 20 days in the minors he would become a free agent after 2018 instead of 2019. (For more on the service time situation regarding Bradley Jr.)
“We have a whole year to determine how that service time would factor in going forward. He’s not on the (40-man) roster right now. He’d have to be added obviously. What the countermove to that would be would be factored into this. Can’t deny the fact he’s having a hell of a spring training,” Farrell said. “The bottom line thing would be, when any young player, whether it’s Jackie or any young position player, when they come to the big leagues, you want to be sure they get regular at-bats. If those are there, that becomes part of the equation. Most importantly, he’s doing whatever he can to impact the decision.
“The one thing we’ve always focused on is when he gets to face pitchers that are getting right up against the start of the season, as their stuff has sharpened. Facing quality guys whether it’s in the earlier part of the game, deeper in the game. That decision, that situation is ongoing. Ultimately a decision is in the near future here.”
Bradley Jr. entered Sunday hitting .457 (16-for-35) with a 1.168 OPS.
Even with the return of Shane Victorino, Farrell surmised there would be enough opportunities to continue to get a good look at the young outfielder.
“Guys that we know are going to start with us, they can get their at-bats in minor-league games,” the manager said. “We’re still in a situation where there will be enough at-bats to keep everyone in the mix and in the flow of things. We’re in those final 10 days to start to get our lineup together more regularly, which at least today is the first day we’ll have with whoever’s available to start this game. We’re getting to that interesting point in time of camp. “
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