The veteran Grady Sizemore (left) beat out prospect Jackie Bradley Jr. (right). (Michael Ivins/Getty Images)
Grady Sizemore's long road back to the majors is complete.
The 31-year-old, who hasn't played a big league game since Sept. 22, 2011, was named the starting center fielder for the Red Sox on Friday. Prospect Jackie Bradley Jr., who lost the competition, was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket.
"We came in open-minded, and he really has surpassed our expectations," Boston manager John Farrell said about Sizemore, who made three straight All-Star Games from 2006-08 but averaged only 70 games the next three seasons due to a series of knee injuries.
The Red Sox signed Sizemore to a one-year deal in January, and he hit .333 in 39 at-bats this spring with a homer and two RBIs. He played three straight games earlier this week.
"This is a rarity. It really speaks to his work ethic and athleticism," Farrell said of Sizemore's comeback. "This is why he is going north with us."
Bradley hit .189 in 37 games last season with three homers and 10 RBIs.
In eight seasons in Cleveland, Sizemore hit .269 with 43 triples, 139 homers, 458 RBIs, 134 steals and an .830 OPS.