TEX@BOS: Bradley Jr. draws Red Sox closer with double

NEW YORK -- There might not be anything more to Jackie Bradley Jr.'s recent surge at the plate than the fact that he is gaining experience. Last year all of his weaknesses seemed to be exposed in his first stint in the Majors.

Entering Thursday's game against the Yankees, Bradley was hitting .400; he went 0-for-2 in a 4-1 loss, lowering his average to .364.

"More than anything, he's understood where the strike zone ends, particularly in to him on the plate, in off the plate," said manager John Farrell. "He's not expanded the strike zone in as much. Last year, early on in the season, he was pitched in more than he ever had in his pro career. More than anything, [it's] a normal transition to the big leagues and facing big league pitching nightly."

Grady Sizemore knows what it's like to be a highly touted young center fielder. What impresses him most about Bradley?

"Just an overall player," said Sizemore. "He's done really well. He's come up big for us early on, made good plays in the field and had good at-bats. He's done everything we've asked him of and more. He's been kind of a jump-starter for this offense and has made good plays on defense. He can play anywhere -- left, center, right -- and has a good arm. He can do it all."

Sizemore plays first career game in left

TEX@BOS: Sizemore slides to snag a sinking line drive

NEW YORK -- Manager John Farrell re-aligned his batting order and his defense for Thursday's game against the Yankees, and both moves involved Grady Sizemore.

For the first time in his Major League career, Sizemore started in left field. Daniel Nava, who entered the night with a .125 average, moved from first to fifth in the order.

Sizemore went 0-for-4 in a series-opening 4-1 loss; Nava contributed a diving catch and his first homer of the season.

"It's as much about trying to get Daniel going," said Farrell. "We still value the on-base, which Daniel has a strong track record of that, and yet right now we feel like we've got to give him an opportunity to get his feet on the ground offensively. Once he does, we feel like he'll be in that spot. We're just trying to make the most of the current streaks or the way guys are swinging the bat right now."

As for the outfield, Nava, who is typically Farrell's first option in left, played right field. Jackie Bradley Jr., who has been spending a lot of time in right of late, started in center.

The reason for those switches? Yankee Stadium.

"The ground that's going to be covered here in Yankee Stadium is almost the reverse of what we deal with at Fenway," said Farrell. "We'll keep Jackie in center field and get Grady over in left for that particular reason -- to cover the vast space that's on the left side of the field."

Sizemore was typically unfazed by both his movement in the batting order and the outfield.

"I play anywhere and I'll hit anywhere," said Sizemore. "It's not an issue for me."

The Red Sox did have Sizemore spend some time in left field during Spring Training.

Farrell adapting to new replay system

MIL@BOS: Red Sox challenge out in 2nd, call confirmed

NEW YORK -- Now that the Red Sox have already been involved in multiple challenges, what does manager John Farrell think about the new replay system?

"There's a little bit of an awkwardness to it right now, I'll say. The one thing it's done is eliminated a lot of the arguments that you typically have on a given call," said Farrell.

And Farrell admits to having to, at times. make a little small talk with the umpires before getting the go-ahead on whether to issue a challenge.

"Some of the conversations [when] you go out there and you're waiting for the thumbs up or thumbs down, you're almost having a conversation where the umpire is asking you, 'Are you waiting for the go-ahead call?' And yeah, I am. So it takes the attention away from the play to, how effective and efficient is your internal mechanism to figure out whether to challenge or not?" said Farrell.

Video coordinator Billy Broadbent is the point man on replays for the Red Sox, monitoring from his workstation near the clubhouse.

"That's what gets stressed in all of this: Is the person in the video room, the man behind the curtain, is he saying, 'Go for it' or not? Just talking to umpires at home plate, they're still growing through this as we are," said Farrell. "Right now there's a little bit of awkwardness to it."