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Bradley gets break to 'catch his breath'

BOSTON -- Much of the pregame hubbub surrounding Jackie Bradley Jr. had to do with his afro -- he unfurled his braids in public for the first time -- but the actual baseball news concerning the rookie center fielder was that he was not in the lineup Saturday for the first time since April 20.

Grady Sizemore got the nod in center and in the No. 5 hole.

Manager John Farrell called it a "chance to regroup" for Bradley, who this month is hitting .128 and slugging .170 while getting on base at a .226 clip. Bradley's 0-for-3 night Friday made him hitless in his last 12 at-bats.

Bradley caught the manager's attention when he told the media, "I'm lost" after Friday night's contest.

"He's been going at it every day, and he's done a very good job defensively," Farrell said. "Offensively, there's been some times where he's challenged. We're well aware of the swing-and-miss that's shown up here of late.

"I saw the comment that he made. I think anytime a player speaks that candidly about what he's feeling, I think there's an opportunity to give him a little bit of a breather, take a game in and kind of just catch his breath, so to speak."

Bradley, for his part, is doing what he can to stay positive as he navigates personally uncharted waters. His strikeout rate (.294) is much higher than his batting average (.200).

"I am going through something that I'm not used to," Bradley said. "I pride myself on at least putting the ball in play. I definitely don't strike out this much. It is still a work in progress, and I'm trying to get better."

And as for the new hairdo? It helps him feel, in his own words, "loose."

"I feel like I can blink," he said.

Tim Healey is a contributor to
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