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Bradley returns to majors, confidence intact

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  May 29, 2013 06:33 PM

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PHILADELPHIA — Jackie Bradley Jr. started the season with the Red Sox and played well at first, contributing to three victories. But when he was optioned to Triple A Pawtucket on April 20, Bradley was 3 for 31 with 12 strikeouts.

The 23-year-old returned said Wednesday his confidence was not bruised by the experience.

"It's OK to crawl before you start walking and running," he said. "Just learning from that aspect. I learned that you're going to fail. You've got to make the small adjustments that you need to do to get to where you want to be."

Manager John Farrell said Bradley would be used off the bench in Philadelphia. But he could return to the lineup in New York.

"Now when we get into New York, that could change based on the matchups that we have there. Certainly left field in New York takes a different look, particularly the ground to cover out there," Farrell said.

Also:

• Shane Victorino, out since May 21 with left hamstring and back injuries, could start a minor league rehabilitation assignment this weekend. He is eligible to come off the disabled list on Wednesday and is on track to do that. “We like to get at least a couple of days in games,” Farrell said.

• Will Middlebrooks, who went on the disabled list May 24 with a back strain, is feeling better. He did some running for the first time since the injury on Wednesday and felt better. He also took some practice swings.

“He would be three days behind [Victorino], but a similar program that we’ve laid out,” Farrell said.

Said Middlebrooks: “I’m a lot better. My back isn’t completely healthy yet but it has improved a little every day.”

• Mike Napoli was at first base with David Ortiz on the bench for the interleague road game. Ortiz is expected to start at first base on Thursday. It would be his first game in the field since last June 17.

• Victorino played for the Phillies from 2005-12, was shown on the scoreboard in the middle of the fourth inning and came out of the dugout to tip his cap to the fans. He received a loud ovation.

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