4/4/2014 2:06 P.M. ET
Plethora of outfield options available for Red Sox
By Ian Browne and Quinn Roberts / MLB.com
BOSTON -- Red Sox manager John Farrell came into the season knowing he'd have to mix and match his starting outfield.
He'd have to decide how often Grady Sizemore should patrol center field after being out of baseball since 2011. What Farrell didn't expect was that Shane Victorino would start the season on the 15-day disabled list with a right hamstring strain.
Victorino's absence has created more playing time for Mike Carp, No. 3 prospect Jackie Bradley Jr. and Jonny Gomes. Carp and Gomes have started two games, while Bradley has started one. Daniel Nava has started all four in right field.
"We have a number of quality players we can pick from," Farrell said. "With the things we are dealing with when it comes to Grady [Sizemore] and Shane [Victorino], we have very good depth and good young players."
Carp was penciled into left field for Friday's home opener against the Brewers, while Sizemore started in center field and Nava was in right field.
Farrell's said his decisions are based on versatility, matchups and where the team is playing.
"Nava can play in both corner outfield spots," Farrell said. "It is exciting to rotate so many good players through the lineup."
Farrell impressed with Bogaerts' bat, glove
BOSTON -- It may be just three games into the season, but manager John Farrell is already impressed with the play of shortstop Xander Bogaerts.
"Xander has gotten off to a great start and looks very confident and comfortable in the field," said Farrell.
Coming into Friday's game, the 21-year-old Bogaerts was batting .556 (5-for-9) with one double. He's also made a few stellar plays at shortstop. Farrell pointed out a play in Thursday's 4-3 win over the Orioles when Bogaerts cut down the lead runner in the eighth inning by going to his backhand side.
"He looks very comfortable at shortstop," said Farrell. "All of the work he did early in Spring Training has helped. He's made a number of plays showing very good range.
"He anticipates well. He knows where he is going once the ball comes off the bat. It is more the fundamental ability to not rush the play when the pressure is on and just let his natural abilities take over."
Bogaerts played an important role for the club at the end of last season and into the playoffs after he was called up from the Minors in August.
"You still marvel at a guy who has less than 100 Major League at-bats and the way he looks," Farrell said. "The talent is there, along with the work ethic. He'll have some ups and downs along the way, but he's come out very strong."
Dempster returns for ring ceremony
BOSTON -- Ryan Dempster moved around so seamlessly in the Red Sox's clubhouse on Friday morning, it was easy to forget he ever left.
Though Dempster announced back in Spring Training he wouldn't throw a pitch in 2014 and might retire altogether, he wasn't going to miss the ring ceremony to commemorate the 2013 World Series champions.
"It's a little weird, but it's all good," said Dempster. "It's just fun to be back here. I feel like a kid at Christmas time and I can't wait to go get this ring."
Though his teammates all made him feel at home, Dempster admitted it felt a little strange to be at Fenway as an inactive player.
"It's something I've done my whole life, so to step away from this and not be playing is different," Dempster said. "At the same time, the guys have been unbelievable. [Manager] John [Farrell] and everybody have let me be around a little bit, so I can kind of wean myself off it instead of going cold turkey."
Earlier this week, Dempster declined an opportunity to be at the ceremony at the White House, but he had good reason.
"It was my daughter's fifth birthday," said Dempster. "I'm not going to miss that. The president had to wait."
Sure, Dempster misses the camaraderie of being in the clubhouse on a daily basis and the competition of pitching every fifth day. But he is confident he made the right decision.
"I've already planned my golf trips in the summer and I get to go camping for the first time since I was 15," said Dempster. "I've done a lot of fun things and I get to be around my kids a whole bunch, which is really cool. My son is excited that he still gets to come to the field. That's the most important thing I think."
• Farrell said Sizemore will start the first two games of the series against the Brewers, yet he's still unsure if he'll get the nod for Sunday's day game.
• A present awaited all Red Sox players as they filed into the clubhouse Friday morning. Jonny Gomes bought each player a Stetson cowboy hat with the inscription "World Champs" on the inside.
"Maybe I'll wear it with my championship ring," joked Mike Napoli.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.