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Projecting the 2013 Boston Red Sox Opening Day Roster

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY| With opening day just a week away, it's time to take a look at how the Boston Red Sox roster may look. It will be a nice mix of veterans and youth as Boston readies for the 2013 season. There are also some players who weren't expected to be on the opening day roster. However, due to injuries plans tend to change rather rapidly.

Catcher (2)

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, David Ross

This is a solid combination for the catching position. Saltalamacchia is capable of hitting 25-plus HRs. He is also swinging the bat well (.324 BA, .405 OBP) during spring training. Meanwhile, Ross is known for having an outstanding clubhouse presence and being an easy catcher for pitchers to deal with. Any offense Boston can get from Ross will be a bonus.

Infield (6)

Mike Napoli, Dustin Pedroia, Jose Iglesias, Will Middlebrooks, Mike Carp, Pedro Ciriaco

There is adequate depth in the infield for Boston. The unit also seems to be in very good health.

Pedroia and Napoli have hit very well this spring. Middlebrooks started slowly, but has warmed up. He hasn't played a game since August, so the first few weeks will be very important for him to settle down and perform.

A significant amount of pressure will be placed on Iglesias. The young shortstop will seemingly get his chance early because of the injury to Stephen Drew. Iglesias has yet to hit well in either Triple-A or the majors. His glove is certainly ready, but if can't hit, he won't stick.

Carp and Ciriaco are decent enough off the bench. For Carp, it's a fresh start after being acquired from Seattle. Ciriaco played respectably last season, especially against the Yankees (.415 BA against NY).

Outfield (5)

Jacoby Ellsbury, Jonny Gomes, Shane Victorino, Jackie Bradley Jr, Daniel Nava

The obvious surprise is Bradley making this team directly from Double-A. However, he has earned it. Hitting over .400, with an OBP of .508, should make any Red Sox fan confident that Bradley is capable of producing in the big leagues.

(Quick Note on Bradley…Since he isn't on the 40-man roster, Bradley may start in the minor leagues. This means Bradley's free agent year would be 2019. Bradley could be called up to the majors as soon a mid-April.)

Ellsbury and Victorino have had slow springs, but will certainly be relied upon when the season begins next week.

With David Ortiz being injured, Gomes will likely be the DH to start the season. Nava is a nice complement off the bench.

Starting Pitcher (5)

Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, Ryan Dempster, Felix Doubront

The unit has pitched very well in the spring, especially Lester and Buchholz. They have only allowed a combined four runs in over 38 innings pitched. Both are looking to pace the Boston staff, as they did in 2010. Both finished in the top-6 in voting for the Cy Young that season.

Meanwhile, Lackey, Dempster and Doubront have all put up respectable numbers. The three are also healthy, which may be the most important factor at this time. If there is an injury, look for Miller or Aceves to spot-start.

Relief Pitcher (7)

Joel Hanrahan, Andrew Bailey, Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa, Andrew Miller, Alfredo Aceves, Daniel Bard

Hanrahan has had a shaky spring, so there may be some concern heading into the season. The closer position was a complete train wreck in 2012. The Red Sox need stability, so the pressure will be on Hanrahan to perform.

The rest of the unit has been very strong. Uehara has been nearly unhittable. Tazawa and Miller seem to be in midseason form. And Aceves has progressed well after a rocky start to the spring.

Bard is the wild card in this scenario. He isn't a lock for this team, but has pitched well in the spring. Clayton Mortensen or maybe another lefty like Chris Hernandez could be on the roster to start. However, Bard's experience may help him win the job.

Disabled List (4)

David Ortiz, Franklin Morales, Stephen Drew, Craig Breslow

Ortiz has been bothered by pain in his Achilles, an injury he originally suffered in August of 2012. There is no official timetable for his return, though he is expected to start the season on the DL.

Morales doesn't have a timetable for return either, as he continues to deal with a bulging disc in his lower back. He was expected to be on the 25-man roster if healthy.

Drew did get a positive checkup regarding his condition following a concussion he suffered some weeks back. While Drew has been cleared for baseball activities, it's difficult to see him on the opening day roster unless he has a miraculous final week of spring training.

Breslow continues to deal with left shoulder inflammation. While he continues to make progress, Breslow has no set timetable for even beginning to throw again.

Chris Sedenka is a Yahoo! Contributor in Sports covering the Boston Red Sox.You can listen to his daily radio show on 96.3FM in Portland, ME or at thebigjab.com. He is also the voice of the Maine Red Claws of the NBA D-League.

You can follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisSedenka.

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