|09.02.14 at 1:13 pm ET|
Rusney Castillo may have been the recognizable name in the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League championship game. But there may come a day when he’s the footnote rather than the headliner.
After all, Castillo — who went 0-for-3 with a walk, two groundouts and a flyout — batted in front of Javier Guerra, an attention-grabbing shortstop who looks the part of a big league defender and whose unusual pop for his position was evident in the homer he smoked to right, his lone hit in a 1-for-4 day that also included a walk. Batting behind Guerra was the Sox’ top pure hitting prospect in years, Rafael Devers, who went 1-for-5 as the final note of a year that saw him lead both his DSL and GCL teams in homers at the age of 17. Devers was hitting in front of first-rounder Michael Chavis, who launched a two-run homer to left, a final display of what became a regular display of precocious extra-base power that started in August as an 18-year-old making his pro debut.
Behind Chavis was second baseman Victor Acosta, a slight player whose strong wrists allow him to generate unlikely pop. Outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe, a 17-year-old with speed and athleticism as well as an approach that proved surprisingly advanced this year, permitting him to move from the DSL to the GCL, went 2-for-3 with a pair of walks. Left fielder Trenton Kemp, an 18-year-old who was taken in the 15th round for his intriguing power/speed combination, went 2-for-5 to wrap up an 8-for-17 postseason that included a homer. The lineup was rounded out by a huge player with huge power potential in Josh Ockimey and an 18-year-old catcher (Devon Fisher) who helped navigate through a number of wins.
It will be years before some clarity is achieved with that group of prospects, before it is known whether Devers and Chavis and Guerra emerge as potential stars or regulars or what-happened-to’¦ busts. But for now, between a DSL team that is competing for a championship and a GCL team that won one with an 8-1 victory over the GCL Yankees on Monday, there’s burgeoning strength in the lower levels of the Red Sox system, the likes of which hasn’t been seen in years. There is now a very distinctive wave behind the current upper levels wave, with potential high-impact players such as Devers (a potential middle-of-the-order masher at third base), Guerra (who draws uniform raves from team personnel) and Chavis (potential middle-of-the-order power at second, third or even in left) leading the charge, and some outfielders with big upside like Yoan Aybar in the DSL and Basabe and Kemp in the GCL.
Castillo will make his mark in the big leagues this year. But in five or 10 years, it’s possible that he will prove something other than the most important player to have taken the field in the GCL Sox’ championship victory on Monday.
A brief look at the rest of the action in the Red Sox system:
|09.02.14 at 10:16 am ET|
Kelly (0-1, 3.86 ERA) still is searching for his first win in his sixth start since joining the Red Sox at the non-waiver trade deadline. His last time out, Wednesday against the Blue Jays, the right-hander allowed two runs and struck out four in six solid innings. He was removed from the game after 86 pitches because of shoulder concerns stemming from his five-inning start against the Mariners on Aug. 26.
The Red Sox held a one-run lead at the time of Kelly’s exit, but reliever Junichi Tazawa allowed two crucial runs to score in the seventh inning, costing the Red Sox the game.
“After he came out of the last game, we had every intention to hold his pitch count down in the 85 range. He pitched exceptional tonight,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Kelly after the game. “He was very good. He and David Ross worked well together. But we felt like in light of five days ago, we were going to hold him shorter than normal, and knowing we were going to have to match up through the bottom of the order, it didn’t work out the way it looked like we could match up.”
Tuesday’s start will be Kelly’s first-ever matchup against the Yankees.
Greene (4-1, 3.09 ERA) will be making his second start of the season against the Red Sox. The rookie, who spent over two months in the minor leagues this year, did not factor in the decision in his Aug. 2 start against Boston, a game the Yankees won 6-4. The 6-foot-4 right-hander went 4 2/3 innings that afternoon, allowing just three runs, all of which came in the second inning. Greene settled down enough after a rough start to the game to strike out five hitters before exiting.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he was impressed with Greene’s perseverance during that outing.
“You’ve got to remember, he is a young kid and a lot of this is all new for him,” Girardi said after the game. “The most impressive thing for me was that he made the adjustment, and that’s what you want to see.”
|09.01.14 at 11:07 pm ET|
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — On the surface, anything that transpired on the west coast of Florida involving the Red Sox over the past few days would seem of little consequence. This was a team, after all, that after dropping a 4-3 loss to the Rays Monday afternoon had dropped to a season-worst 19 1/2 games out of first place.
But there were some notable items that popped up since the summer started its annual punctuation Friday.
– Dustin Pedroia was elbowed in the head Saturday, didn’t play for three straight days, and finally explained his lot in life while exiting the clubhouse late Monday afternoon.
Since the incident that drove him from Saturday night’s game — a Logan Forsythe slide into second (click here to see the video)– Pedroia has been battling concussion-like symptoms. By the time he left Florida, the headaches had subsided, but there was still the kind of sleep deprivation (staying up until 4 a.m. Monday) that accompanies concussions.
He will continue to take tests before being cleared, although Pedroia did offer this analysis: “I’m feeling better. There’s a part where you feel normal and then they’ve got to take all these tests and stuff. I’ve got to pass them, which is kind of tough. I didn’t pass many tests in my schooling life.”
There was an outside chance Pedroia might be able to play in New York, but the likelihood is that his return will come back at Fenway Park. He did at least manage to get clearance for the plane from Tampa. “It’s a long drive back,” he noted.
– While Clay Buchholz was pitching one of his best games of the season Sunday afternoon, most of the attention was focused two hours down I-75 in Fort Myers. It was there Rusney Castillo was making his professional debut with the Red Sox, serving as designated hitter for the Gulf Coast League Red Sox.
The 27-year-old outfielder would play a total of two games for the GCL Red Sox, getting four at-bats during the team’s title-clinching game Monday while playing center field without a chance.
|09.01.14 at 5:12 pm ET|
Rusney Castillo went 0-for-3 with a walk in Monday’s Gulf Coast League title game, making him 1-for-5 through two professional games and closing the book on his GCL stint.
The Red Sox revealed Monday that Castillo will head to Double-A Portland Wednesday for the start of their postseason against Binghamton.
Castillo, whom the Sox signed to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract last month, went 1-for-2 Sunday as he made his professional debut. He was also thrown out stealing.
|09.01.14 at 4:44 pm ET|
(For the final month of the regular season, Closing Time will now be called “Why you should have cared,” taking into consideration the team’s increasing distance from a .500 record.)
Mookie Betts has ascended up the Red Sox batting order in recent days, and his first tango in the leadoff spot suited him well in a 4-3, 10-inning loss to the Rays.
Betts had hit eighth in nine straight games after his mid-August recall and was moved up to seventh for three straight before hitting second on Sunday. He found success in the leadoff spot Monday, going 2-for-5 with an RBI double and a run scored.
The run scored was a key one, as Betts, after singling in the top of the eighth with the Sox trailing down a run, was advanced to second on a groundout by Brock Holt and scored on a Yoenis Cespedes single.
Monday marked Betts’ second straight game with an RBI, as he contributed a run-scoring single in Sunday’s win over the Rays.
Here are some other things to care about as the Sox fell to 60-77:
– Mike Napoli hit a solo shot to left-center in the bottom of the fourth to snap an 0-for-13 skid. With his 17th homer of the season, Napoli is closer to becoming the Sox’ second player with 20 home runs this season (David Ortiz leads the team with 30). Ortiz and Napoli were the only Sox hitters with 20 homers last season, which was the first time since 1997 that the Sox didn’t have at least three players hit 20 or more home runs.
– Though Napoli came through in the fourth, he struck out swinging to end the top of the eighth after Cespedes had tied the game.
|09.01.14 at 1:29 pm ET|
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Dustin Pedroia, sidelined since displaying concussion-like symptoms after taking an elbow to the head during Saturday’s game, remained out of the lineup for Monday’s series finale with the Rays at Tropicana Field.
“A little bit better, and yet he still has some of the symptoms. So this is clearly a day-to-day thing,” manager John Farrell said of Pedroia, who was was hit by Rays baserunner Logan Forsythe on a play at second base. “We’re probably at least another day from any kind of exertion test or any kind of ramping up of the heart rate to see if there’s still some residual … but he’s sore where the impact took place on the side of the head. As I mentioned the other day, we’ll be cautious with this.”
“I think if he returns at some point during the Yankees series, that’s optimistic,” Farrell said. “Not ruling it out. Dustin may have a different view of that right now. We still have to go through all the required steps, regardless of DL or not, and that’s documentation, that’s testing, that’s examination by medical people, doctors included. We’re in the midst of that.”
Brock Holt started a second base Monday for the second straight day. Mookie Betts was primarily a second baseman in the minors before transitioning to center field this year, but Farrell said the team has no plans to return the rookie to the infield now.
“No, because it’s been quite a while since Mookie has had any reps at second,” Farrell said. “He’s had a lot on his plate this year with defensive positioning and changes to it and don’t want to take him back and forth.”
|09.01.14 at 10:44 am ET|
Betts batted seventh in the first two games, then was in the No. 2 slot behind Brock Holt on Sunday, when he collected a double and an RBI single in a 3-0 victory. He’s 4-for-11 with five RBIs in the series and now is batting .259/.344/.424 on the season (85 at-bats).
Holt, who leads the American League with a .364 average in day games (43-for-118), will bat second.
In the Labor Day matinee the Sox will attempt to slow down left-hander Drew Smyly (9-10, 3.31 ERA). Smyly, acquired from the Tigers in the David Price deal at the trade deadline, has won three straight with a 0.88 ERA over that span. In his last outing, Smyly allowed one run on two hits in a 3-1 victory at division-leading Baltimore on Wednesday. That was preceded by a complete-game two-hitter in an 8-0 win over the Blue Jays.
“This is probably one of the better stretches I’ve had as a starter,” he told MLB.com.
On the hill for Boston is Rubby De La Rosa (4-5, 3.81 ERA), who allowed three runs in 4 2/3 innings in the Red Sox‘ 11-7 victory in 11 innings over the Blue Jays last Tuesday. The right-hander has a 6.46 ERA over his last three starts.
RED SOX LINEUP
Mookie Betts, CF
Brock Holt, 2B
Yoenis Cespedes, LF
Mike Napoli, DH
Allen Craig, 1B
Daniel Nava, RF
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Xander Bogaerts SS
Christian Vazquez, C
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