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Red Sox minor league roundup: Eduardo Rodriguez dominating post-trade; Henry Owens delivers innings; Mauricio Dubon turning heads

08.22.14 at 1:30 pm ET
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A brief and, frankly, incomplete look at Thursday’s action in the Red Sox farm system:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 3-2 WIN (WALKOFF) VS. LEHIGH VALLEY (PHILLIES)

(BOX)

– Though he threw just 58 of 96 pitches (60.4 percent) for strikes, left-hander Henry Owens made the strikes he did throw count, matching a season- and career-high with eight innings during which he gave up two runs on five hits (including a two-run homer and double) while walking one and punching out six. He secured 10 more outs via groundball. While Owens has given up three homers in his first four Triple-A starts, his performance since his promotion has otherwise been strong. He has 27 strikeouts and six walks in 25 2/3 innings, holding opponents to a .226 average while forging a 3.51 ERA.

– Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. went 2-for-4 with a homer and for the first time since he was sent down, he didn’t strike out. Bradley is now 4-for-19 with the homer (.211/.211/.368) in four games with the PawSox. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: eduardo rodriguez, henry owens, mauricio dubon, michael chavis

Kevin Millar on MFB: Rusney Castillo part of ‘dynamic of the Cuban influence in baseball’

08.22.14 at 1:14 pm ET
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Kevin Millar

Kevin Millar

MLB Network analyst and former Red Sox first baseman Kevin Millar joined Middays with MFB on Friday to discuss the Sox and their reported contract agreement with Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Sox reportedly agreed to a seven-year, $72.5 million deal with the 27-year-old Castillo, who is known for his speed and his range in the outfield.

“I don’t know a whole lot about him. I don’t think any of us do. But you’re looking at the dynamic of the Cuban influence in baseball, starting off with Jose Abreu,” Millar said. “I think it’s a great thing. I think you’re starting to see that gap come closer because there’s some great players over in Cuba and they’re dynamic players and hopefully this thing pans out well for the Red Sox.”

The years and money makes for a heavy investment for a relatively unknown player in Castillo, but Millar said the Red Sox had to have known enough good things about him to take the chance.

“You have to have scouts up there. Someone had to see him other than a workout. But at the end of the day, you go with your heart,” he said. “I’m using an example of Jose Abreu of the White Sox. We didn’t have a whole lot of things on him, but did you know he was going to have 32 home runs coming into the middle of August?

“Sometimes it’s for your gut. And not everything works out. It’s just like a draft. Yes, $72 million is a lot of money, but it was a lot of money for Yu Darvish back in the day, then the [Masahiro Tanaka] situation happened for the Yankees and it was a lot of money then, but it looked like it was about worth it until the injury. So this money is a lot of money but there’s a lot of money out there to be made and spent and hopefully you get that dynamic-type player that a lot of these Cubans have turned out to be.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Kevin Millar, Rusney Castillo,

Red Sox near agreement on 7-year deal with Rusney Castillo

08.22.14 at 11:22 am ET
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The Red Sox have agreed to a seven-year, $72.5 million deal with outfielder Rusney Castillo. (Getty Images)

The Red Sox have agreed to a seven-year, $72.5 million deal with outfielder Rusney Castillo. (Getty Images)

According to multiple industry sources, the Red Sox are in the final stages of negotiating an agreement with Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo on a seven-year, $72.5 million deal that will take effect starting in 2014 and run through 2020.

Earlier this week, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington acknowledged that the Red Sox had worked out the 27-year-old (Cherington himself attended the workout) and had talked to him, but didn’t elaborate.

“He’s a player we’ve seen and we’ve talked to, but we’re just one of several teams that have done that,” Cherington said Tuesday at Fenway Park. “There’s nothing more I can say.”

The 5-foot-9 Castillo, who is represented by Roc Nation Sports, a partnership of Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and CAA Sports, is viewed as a player with elite speed that allows him to be a game-changer on the bases and also permits him considerable range in the outfield, where he can play center or right. He also shows the ability to impact the ball as a line-drive/gap hitter.

Castillo’s former teammate Yoenis Cespedes offered the following description of Castillo to WEEI.com earlier this month: “If he’s not a five-tool player, he’s a least a four-tool player. He’s very comparable to [Dodgers outfielder Yasiel] Puig. Obviously a different height and size, but very similar qualities.”

Puig may be a bit of a stretch as a comparable talent; one evaluator suggested that the Sox signed Castillo more with an eye toward acquiring a player along the lines of a Shane Victorino in his prime — a terrific athlete who has outstanding speed, can play center or right field (more likely center) for the Sox at a high level, and, while not having the power of a Jose Abreu, possesses an ability to impact the baseball that suggests the potential for double-digit home run totals. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Rusney Castillo,

Red Sox-Mariners series preview

08.22.14 at 11:15 am ET
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The friendly confines of Fenway Park have not been so friendly to the Red Sox lately.

Felix Hernandez

Felix Hernandez

The Sox came into their 11-game homestand last weekend feeling positive after a successful road trip but have stumbled yet again, getting swept in a four-game series against the Angels. The Sox were outscored 18-8 for the series and were one-hit by Halos starter Matt Shoemaker in 2-0 loss Thursday night.

The Red Sox are 2-6 through the first eight games of the homestand to fall to 56-71 for the season. They’re 18 games back of the first-place Orioles in the AL East and six games behind the Rays for fourth place.

While the Sox have been one of the biggest disappointments in baseball this season, the Mariners, who the Sox take on in a three-game series to close out the homestand, have been one of the game’s biggest surprises.

At 68-58, Seattle is just a half-game back of the Tigers for the final AL wild card spot, putting the M’s in contention for their first postseason berth since 2001. The Mariners dropped two of three to the Phillies this week but have won seven of their last 10.

Seattle’s emergence is due largely to its pitching staff, which leads all of baseball with a 2.93 team ERA. The Mariners, as expected, are headlined by ace Felix Hernandez, who leads the team is wins (13), ERA (1.99), strikeouts (197) and WHIP (0.87). However, Seattle also has been lifted by the emergence of unlikely studs Hisashi Iwakuma and Chris Young, who both are having impressive years in their mid-30s.

The Sox were shut down by this staff when they dropped two of three in Seattle in the lone meeting between these teams June 23-25. The Red Sox scored just 10 runs in the series, which was less than the Mariners’ total (12 runs) in the first game alone.

Here are the probable pitchers for the three-game set.

Friday: Felix Hernandez (13-4, 1.99 ERA) vs. Joe Kelly (2-3, 4.67 ERA)
Saturday: Chris Young (12-6, 3.07 ERA) vs. Brandon Workman (1-7, 4.26 ERA)
Sunday: Hisashi Iwakuma (12-6, 2.57 ERA) vs. Allen Webster (3-1, 4.73 ERA)

WHO’S HOT: RED SOX

– No one has been hotter than David Ortiz as of late. The slugger was 14-for-26 (.538) with five multi-hit games through the first seven games of the Sox’ 11-game homestand before being given a day off on Thursday. Ortiz has made his mark in the Red Sox’ record books during this stretch as well. On Saturday, he hit his 400th and 401st home runs in a Red Sox uniform, making him the third player in club history to reach that mark behind Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski.Wednesday’s home run marked Ortiz’s eighth 30-home run season, tying him with Williams for most in Sox history.

Read the rest of this entry »

Friday’s Red Sox-Mariners matchups: Joe Kelly vs. Felix Hernandez

08.22.14 at 8:33 am ET
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Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly

The Red Sox will close out their 11-game homestand when they host the Mariners for a three-game set at Fenway Park. Boston will send Joe Kelly to the mound against Seattle ace Felix Hernandez in the series opener Friday.

Kelly (0-1, 5.29 ERA) will be looking to rebound from a rough Fenway debut Sunday, as the righty gave up seven hits and seven earned runs while walking six in just four innings against the Astros.

“Plenty of stuff. Plenty of power. Plenty of action to his secondary pitches,”€ said Red Sox manager John Farrell when asked about Kelly’€™s outing after the game. “Just his command was not as its been in the first two outings for him.”

While Kelly has turned in both promising and discouraging outings during his brief Red Sox career, one recurring trend for the 26-year-old has been issues with command. Kelly has walked 13 batters in his last 17 innings of work.

Friday will stand as Kelly’€™s first career start against the Mariners.

The Red Sox certainly have their work cut out for them against Hernandez (13-4, 1.99 ERA), who has once again solidified himself as arguably the top pitcher in the American League this season.

Hernandez is the clear frontrunner to secure his second Cy Young Award this season, as the right-hander leads the league in ERA and WHIP (0.87) while ranking second in innings pitched (185 1/3), wins (13) and strikeouts (197).

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: felix hernandez, Joe Kelly, Mariners, Red Sox

Video: Red Sox executives take ice bucket challenge

08.22.14 at 7:41 am ET
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A large contingent of members from the Red Sox front office, including chairman Tom Werner and CEO Larry Lucchino, took the ALS ice bucket challenge Thursday.

COO Sam Kennedy, speaking on behalf of the group, nominated the Pawtucket Red Sox, Liverpool FC and The Boston Globe to take the challenge.

David Ortiz was on hand to help douse the executives and other personnel with buckets of ice water.

Read More: David Ortiz, ice bucket challenge, Larry Lucchino, Red Sox

Sources: Red Sox seen as favorites to land Rusney Castillo

08.22.14 at 6:24 am ET
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Free agent outfielder Rusney Castillo is expected to be close to signing with a major league team. (Getty Images)

Free agent outfielder Rusney Castillo is expected to be close to signing with a major league team. (Getty Images)

According to sources with multiple major league teams that have been involved in the sweepstakes, the Red Sox are considered the favorites to land Cuban free agent outfielder Rusney Castillo. While one industry source cautioned that, as of late Thursday night, Castillo had not yet agreed to a deal with any team and remained in “active” dialogue with multiple clubs, multiple teams believe that the Red Sox may be close to a deal for the athletic, speedy outfielder.

Earlier this week, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington acknowledged that the Red Sox had worked out the 27-year-old (Cherington himself attended the workout) and had talked to him, but didn’t elaborate.

“He’€™€™s a player we’€™€™ve seen and we’€™€™ve talked to, but we’re just one of several teams that have done that,” Cherington said Tuesday at Fenway Park. “There’€™€™s nothing more I can say.”

The 5-foot-9 Castillo is viewed as a player with elite speed that allows him to be a game-changer on the bases and also permits him considerable range in the outfield, where he can play center or right. He also shows the ability to impact the ball as a line-drive/gap hitter.

Castillo’s former teammate Yoenis Cespedes offered the following description of Castillo to WEEI.com earlier this month: “If he’€™€™€™s not a five-tool player, he’€™€™€™s a least a four-tool player. He’€™€™€™s very comparable to [Dodgers outfielder Yasiel] Puig. Obviously a different height and size, but very similar qualities.”

Read More: Rusney Castillo,
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