FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Last month, MLB.com took a first crack at projecting the Opening Day roster for the Red Sox. This seems like the right time to take another stab at it.There has already been one major update since the last time we did this exercise. Left-hander David Price
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Last month, MLB.com took a first crack at projecting the Opening Day roster for the Red Sox. This seems like the right time to take another stab at it.
There has already been one major update since the last time we did this exercise. Left-hander David Price will likely start the season on the disabled list as he battles back from a left forearm injury.
That means that Eduardo Rodriguez, Steven Wright and Thomas Pomeranz will all be in the rotation to start the season, leaving an additional roster spot open in the bullpen.
Here are the roster issues Farrell will be looking at in the coming weeks.
"How will our left-handed relief shake out as?" Farrell said. "How does our bench and the third-base combination thereof play out? There's been nothing determined. The same situations exist -- left-handed relief, the bench and third-base situation; who's going to be in that tandem behind the plate? We're starting to get a little more information on the rotation, just by virtue of the physical ailment to David Price."
The latest roster projection is as follows.
Catcher: Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez
After a breakout season for Leon in 2016, Farrell isn't making much of the switch-hitter's slow start at the plate in Spring Training. Vazquez's arm is back to where it was before he had Tommy John Surgery two years ago. It still looks like Blake Swihart, who has swung the bat well in camp, will start the season at Triple-A because he is the only one of the trio who has options remaining.
Infield: Mitch Moreland, Hanley Ramirez, Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts, Pablo Sandoval, Brock Holt, Josh Rutledge
All eyes were on Sandoval when camp started, and most of the attention centered around the 40 pounds or so he lost. The more relevant thing for the Red Sox is that Sandoval looks like he can play again after missing most of 2016 following surgery on his left shoulder. Sandoval is swinging the bat well and fielding his position and looks more like the guy who played for the Giants than the one who struggled for the Red Sox in '15. Farrell hasn't named Sandoval the starting third baseman yet, but it is an increasing inevitability.
Rutledge remains the favorite to win the last spot on the bench over Marco Hernandez due to his right-handed bat.
Outfield: Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, Chris Young
This has been the most stable area of the team in camp, and should be a clear strength all season. The starting trio is young, exciting and well-rounded. Young is a nice luxury to have off the bench with his power against lefties.
Rotation: Rick Porcello, Chris Sale, Eduardo Rodriguez, Steven Wright, Drew Pomeranz
Initially, Rodriguez, Wright and Pomeranz were in a battle for the final two spots. Price's injury means that all three will start the season in the rotation. Wright and Pomeranz were on a delayed program to start the spring and still need to prove they are fully healthy. There's no word yet on how much time Price will miss, but the Red Sox seem to be in decent position to weather the loss in the short term.
Bullpen: Craig Kimbrel, Tyler Thornburg, Joe Kelly, Matt Barnes, Robbie Ross Jr., Fernando Abad, Richard Hembree
The one player missing from that group of seven is Robby Scott, but the lefty is clearly in the mix for a spot. It could come at the expense of Abad, who was shaky following his acquisition from the Twins last August and missed a decent chunk of this Spring Training competing in the World Baseball Classic. Trade acquisition Thornburg struggled mightily in his first two Grapefruit League outings and is now building back some arm strength before he gets into another game.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.