Red Sox send Jackie Bradley Jr. back to the minors

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Jackie Bradley Jr. entered spring training atop the Red Sox’s center field depth chart, but his struggles and Grady Sizemore’s successful comeback changed those plans. Sizemore was announced today as the Opening Day center fielder and Boston has decided to send Bradley back to Triple-A.

There was some opportunity for the Red Sox to have kept Sizemore and Bradley on the roster, but it makes more sense for Bradley to play every day in the minors and be ready in case Sizemore struggles or has more bad luck with injuries.

Bradley opened last season in the majors, but hit just .189 with 31 strikeouts in 37 games and spent most of the season at Triple-A, where he batted .275 with 10 homers and an .842 OPS in 80 games. Odds are he’ll see extended action for the Red Sox this season, but it may have to wait a couple months.

Masahiro Tanaka to throw off a mound this weekend

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Earlier this month Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka strained both of his hamstrings while running the bases in an interleague game against the Mets and was sent to the 10-day DL. Today it was announced that the beginning of the end of most DL stints for pitchers — throwing off of a mound — is in Tanaka’s immediate future.

Tanaka is scheduled to throw off a mound Sunday, which will be his first real (well, fake real) pitching action since the June 9th injury. Assuming the session goes well, Tanaka is expected to return to the Yankees’ starting rotation sometime in early-to-mid July. With the All-Star break coming the week of July 16, it would not be hard to imagine the Yankees giving him a few extra days to get right.

Tanaka is 7-2 with a 4.58 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 73/19 in 72.2 innings on the season.