Bradley gets another chance in the Bronx

Bradley gets another chance in the Bronx

NEW YORK -- The last time the Red Sox were at Yankee Stadium, Jackie Bradley Jr. made his first impression as a Major Leaguer, making a brilliant catch in left field to take an extra-base hit away from Robinson Cano on Opening Day.

So perhaps it's only fitting that Bradley's second chance to help Boston also comes in the Bronx.

With Jacoby Ellsbury out for at least Friday's game with tightness in his left groin, Bradley got the start in center field -- his natural position -- against Yankees ace CC Sabathia.

The club's No. 2 prospect joined the Sox on Wednesday in Philadelphia, but he didn't start. Bradley did snap his 0-for-21 streak in the Majors with a ninth-inning single in Thursday's 9-2 victory.

When he was sent back to Triple-A on April 18, Bradley got refocused right away.

"I think most good players are going to take their challenges that they face at this level and reflect on their experience," manager John Farrell said. "It was getting to the point where Jackie needed to get regular at-bats. He wasn't getting those here and at this stage of his career, we wanted to make sure he played every day.

"He went back to Pawtucket, got regular at-bats. Started to swing the bat as he did in Spring Training and put himself back in a position to be recalled here when the need arose. I can't say it was one fundamental area that he had to go and make adjustments with. It was more the fact that he was starting to get challenged and we needed to get him back out of this environment."

With Shane Victorino on the disabled list, the Red Sox were fortunate to have Bradley at their disposal on Friday on a night Ellsbury was hurting. There are no other outfielders on Boston's roster who play center.

"With Jacoby being out, Jackie is our center fielder," Farrell said. "I don't know that we'd be looking to put anyone else in center field right now."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.