FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The decision regarding the 25th roster spot for the Red Sox has been complicated by the fact Josh Rutledge (left hamstring strain) will start the season on the disabled list and starting first baseman Mitch Moreland coming down with the flu.After Wednesday's 5-3 loss to the
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The decision regarding the 25th roster spot for the Red Sox has been complicated by the fact Josh Rutledge (left hamstring strain) will start the season on the disabled list and starting first baseman Mitch Moreland coming down with the flu.
After Wednesday's 5-3 loss to the Twins, Red Sox manager John Farrell did say that the bullpen spots were settled, with lefty Robby Scott winning the final relief spot. Scott joins Robbie Ross Jr. and Fernando Abad as the third southpaw. The luxury of carrying three lefties was created by Tyler Thornburg being set to start the season on the disabled list with an impingement in his right shoulder.
Moreland was scratched from Wednesday's lineup and won't play for the rest of Spring Training. Boston hopes he is ready for Opening Day on Monday at Fenway Park against the Pirates.
"Yeah, that's the goal," Farrell said. "That's why he's not here [at the ballpark], to take advantage of every hour possible to get past this."
In fact, Moreland is likely to be quarantined for three days and won't travel with the Red Sox to Washington or Annapolis, Md., for a pair of games against the Nationals this weekend. Instead, he will fly to Boston once he is cleared.
Brock Holt is the only other player on Boston's projected roster who plays first base, aside from Hanley Ramirez, who is limited to DH at this point as he recovers from a right shoulder injury.
Rutledge was expected to win the final utility spot on the roster, but that changed when he strained his left hamstring on Tuesday night against the Pirates.
Marco Hernandez is the top player Rutledge was competing with, and he's had a tremendous Spring Training.
In a vacuum, Hernandez would fill the void left by Rutledge. But the limitations on Ramirez -- not to mention Moreland's uncertainty -- make it more complicated.
Hernandez is a left-handed hitter with no experience at first base.
"He's a very strong candidate," Farrell said of Hernandez. "He's one of a few that are being considered strongly right now. As we look at the upcoming games, there is the potential for two left-handed starters in Detroit. So there's a number of things being factored right now."
The Red Sox could opt to go with a right-handed hitter who can play first base for that 25th roster spot.
Steve Selsky, who was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday, is a candidate. Selksy hit .356 with four homers and 12 RBIs in Grapefruit League action.
Deven Marrero, a utility infielder who doesn't play first base, is also under consideration.
No. 4 prospect Sam Travis is an unlikely option. The first baseman is not on the 40-man roster and was reassigned to Minor League camp on Sunday. It is also a bigger benefit for Travis to play every day at this point.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and **Facebook**.