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Rusney Castillo ‘down for some time’ with left oblique strain

03.04.15 at 1:22 pm ET
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Rusney Castillo. (Getty Images)

Rusney Castillo will be out at least a week with a strained left oblique. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox were reminded Wednesday why it’s good to have too many instead of too few.

With the talk of excess outfielders circulating through camp for the past couple of weeks, the numbers were cut into for the foreseeable future thanks to Rusney Castillo’s strained left oblique.

Castillo hurt his oblique during his third at-bat against Boston College Tuesday. After undergoing an MRI, it was determined the outfielder would be “down for some time,” according to Red Sox manager John Farrell.

Both Farrell and Castillo confirmed the 27-year-old had never previously experienced such an injury. The manager surmised the ailment would keep his outfielder out for more than a week.

“It wasn’t any sort of different kind of swing or odd swing, it was just a pitch that was a little in,” Castillo said through translator Adrian Lorenzo. “I took a regular swing on it and felt something there right in the oblique area. That’s what it was.”

When asked if he believed the injury would negatively impact his chance to break spring training with the big league team, Castillo said, “I don’t think it impacts me in a negative way. We’re doing everything we can to recuperate as quickly as possible. I guess we’ll see how it goes.”

Castillo noted that there is no timetable for his return, and that the injury felt better than it did Tuesday night.

“It’s part of the process, I wouldn’t say it’s frustrating,” he noted. “I don’t know exactly how much time I’m going to be out yet but it’s all part of it.”

Farrell said Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley will continue to rotate in center field. The manager also passed on that Shane Victorino was scheduled to play in the Red Sox‘ Thursday night game against the Twins, but will be in the lineup for the following two games.

Read More: 2015 spring training, John Farrell, Rusney Castillo,

Reports: Jerry Remy’s Fenway Park restaurant closes for good

03.04.15 at 11:50 am ET
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According to multiple reports, Jerry Remy’s Sports Bar and Grill, located just outside Fenway Park, has been closed.

The franchise’s other three locations — Logan Airport, the Seaport District and Fall River (Remy’s hometown) — remain open.

The blog Boston Restaurant Talk reports that the establishment is in bankruptcy and the landlord — the Red Sox — will not renew the lease due to the financial problems.

The restaurant, at 1265 Boylston Street, opened in March 2010. Its roof deck overlooks Fenway Park’s right-field wall.

Remy came under heavy criticism last year when a Boston Globe report detailed how he had enabled and protected his son Jared, who had a long history of violence toward women before pleading guilty to first-degree murder last year in the 2013 killing of his live-in girlfriend.

Remy, who also has battled cancer, took some time away from his job as NESN Red Sox color commentator before returning to the booth.

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Observations from Day 1: Rusney Castillo hurt, Pete Frates inspires, who needs an ace?

03.03.15 at 6:52 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Observations from the first day of actual baseball this spring, a pair of close victories over Northeastern (2-1) and Boston College (1-0):

MOOKIE BETTS, FRONT AND CENTER

If you’re John Farrell, nothing would be better than Mookie Betts and Rusney Castillo each putting his best foot forward in the battle for the starting job in center.

That was certainly the case on Tuesday, when Betts went 1-for-2 while playing with the starters against Northeastern, and Castillo followed with a line single on the first pitch he saw playing with the reserves in the nightcap. We’d be talking about how neither player separated himself, except Castillo left the BC game with tightness in his left side and will be evaluated on Wednesday morning.

There’s no word yet on the severity of his injury. If he’s able to return quickly, the competition for the starting job in center is shaping up to be intense.

“The biggest thing, as you mentioned, is that they’re both skilled,” Farrell said. “They have a package of skills — they can run the bases, they can hit with some power, they can hit with some average. There’s maybe a little more aggressiveness on Rusney’s approach at the plate, but these are two very good players that we’re talking about. We’ll see how things go [Wednesday].”

PITCHERS EXCEL

Northeastern and BC may not have lineups rivaling the Yankees or Orioles, but it was still encouraging to see Red Sox hurlers post zero after zero.

Starters Clay Buchholz, Rick Porcello, and Wade Miley combined to toss five shutout innings, with Buchholz keeping the ball down, Porcello mixing his pitches, and Miley working quickly, as advertised.

“I thought, overall, it was a very good day from the mound,” Farrell said.

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John Farrell warns against reading into Mookie Betts getting start

03.03.15 at 5:23 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — As we noted earlier on Tuesday, it was hard not to notice Mookie Betts starting the Northeastern game with the rest of the regulars in place of Rusney Castillo.

But manager John Farrell cautioned against reading too much into the situation.

“Don’t you always?” Farrell joked. “No, I wouldn’t read anything into it. We said at the outset this is a competition. Guys are going to get equal reps best we can, particularly guys in the flank. Playing in between both Hanley [Ramirez] and Vic [Shane Victorino]. We had to start somewhere, and that’s where we are today.”

Betts went for 1-for-2 with a caught stealing in the opener, while Castillo singled sharply leading off the nightcap against Boston College.

Betts failed to see the significance of the start, too.

“Guys can get in the mix in at any time,” he said. “Just because it’s the first game doesn’t mean anything. We’ll all mix in and get good opportunities. The main thing is getting reps.”

Read More: 2015 spring training, mookie betts,

Clay Buchholz: ‘The ball was moving like it’s supposed to’

03.03.15 at 5:16 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Clay Buchholz probably has the highest ceiling on the starting pitching staff, which makes it all the more painful when it comes crashing down around him.

That made Tuesday’s debut inning against Northeastern encouraging. Buchholz struck out one during a scoreless frame, incorporating the mechanical changes he has worked on all winter in an attemp to be more consistent. He exhibited greater command of his changeup, kept the ball at the knees, and accomplished everything he wanted out of a spring debut.

“The ball was moving like it’s supposed to, I guess, like I wanted it to,” Buchholz said. “The adjustments in the delivery that I’ve been working on felt a lot more smooth than last year in particular. I’ve still got a little work to do, but it felt good.”

Buchholz explained that he has tried to straighten his leg kick towards home plate, rather than being “roundabout” towards third base and the right-handed batter’s box.

“I’m more to home plate and staying on on line,” he said.

Perhaps most encouraging for Buchholz was the basic fact that he kept the ball down.

“That’s key for me,” he said. “I throw a lot of two-seam fastballs, and when they’re up, they’re flat, and they seem to get hit a lot more often. Being down is definitely something I need to be doing — down in the strike zone, four of the five starters, we’re sinker guys.”

Read More: 2015 spring training, Clay Buchholz,

Photos: Spring baseball 2015

03.03.15 at 3:18 pm ET
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Dennis & Callahan, Lou Merloni and WEEI.com have been down in Fort Myers as Red Sox spring baseball gets started. Click here to check out all their photos from the trip so far.

Joe Kelly on Dennis & Callahan

Joe Kelly on Dennis & Callahan

Live blog: Follow all action as Red Sox kick off spring training games

03.03.15 at 12:40 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — While listening to the game on WEEI 850 AM with Rob Bradford and Joe Castiglione, you can also follow along as the Red Sox take on Northeastern and Boston College in a pair of seven-inning exhibition games. Join in the description and conversation of this season’s first spring training contests …

Live Blog Red Sox vs. Northeastern
 

Does Mookie Betts have early edge on Rusney Castillo in center field?

03.03.15 at 11:38 am ET
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Mookie Betts

Mookie Betts

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Rusney Castillo is absolutely, positively going to be the Red Sox‘ opening day center fielder, right? You can’t bench a guy making $72.5 million, right?

Not so fast.

If anything caught the eye when the Red Sox posted their first lineup of the spring on Tuesday morning, it was the starting center fielder in Game 1 of the annual Northeastern-Boston College doubleheader.

Batting leadoff with the rest of the Red Sox regulars was none other than Mookie Betts. Castillo, meanwhile, is slated to start the nightcap with the backups and minor leaguers.

If this sounds like reading too much into a spring lineup for an exhibition against a college team, consider the rest of the players starting the NU game, alongside Betts: 2B Dustin Pedroia, DH David Ortiz, LF Hanley Ramirez, 3B Pablo Sandoval, 1B Mike Napoli, RF Shane Victorino, SS Xander Bogaerts, C Christian Vazquez.

There’s little doubt that eight of those guys will be in the opening day lineup next month in Philadelphia, health permitting. So why should we view Betts any differently?

A case can certainly be made for Castillo opening the season in Pawtucket. There are six years remaining on his deal, and he’s still only played only 50 or 60 competitive games in the last two years. Spending a little time at Triple A might actually help, and it wouldn’t make him a bust.

In any event, file this one, for now, under the heading of Interesting Developments.

Read More: 2015 spring training, mookie betts, Rusney Castillo,

Here are your Red Sox lineups for first spring training games

03.03.15 at 9:56 am ET
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Mookie Betts

Mookie Betts

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Read into this what you must, but here are the starting lineups for the Red Sox seven-inning games against Northeastern and Boston College:

Game 1 vs. Northeastern: Mookie Betts CF, Dustin Pedroia 2B, David Ortiz DH, Hanley Ramirez LF, Pablo Sandoval 3B, Mike Napoli 1B, Shane Victorino RF, Xander Bogaerts SS, Christian Vazquez C, Clay Buchholz P.

Game 2 vs. Boston College: Rusney Castillo CF, Jemile Weeks 2B, Daniel Nava LF, Allen Craig 1B, Garin Cecchini 3B, Ryan Hanigan C, Travis Shaw DH, Jackie Bradley RF, Deven Marrero SS, Wade Miley P.

Getting the start for the Huskies will be sophomore righty Aaron Civale (East Windsor, Conn.), while sophomore right-hander Eric Stone (West Haven, Conn.) will be Boston College‘s first pitcher.

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

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Joe Kelly on D&C: Red Sox starting rotation wants to be known as tough competitors who never back down

03.03.15 at 9:44 am ET
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Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly

Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly stopped by the Dennis & Callahan show on Tuesday morning to talk about the upcoming season both for him personally, and the starting rotation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

At an offseason event, Kelly said on the WEEI airwaves he was going to win the Cy Young. Although the right-hander said there was a little sarcasm in his comments, he is looking forward to having a solid season and feels good about his abilities.

“It’s something I am confident in my abilities and confident in my stuff,” said Kelly. “If I go out there and do what I am capable of, it will be a pretty good year.”

The biggest storyline this spring surrounding the starting rotation is the thought there isn’t a clear-cut ace of the staff. Kelly said that isn’t an issue with the group of five, and they’ve discussed what they want to be known for. The pitcher also noted the emergence of rookie Michael Wacha with his former team, the Cardinals in 2013, as sometimes star pitchers can come out of no where.

“I give an example named Michael Wacha who as a rookie who carried [St. Louis] basically on his back throughout the playoffs when we played the Red Sox and when we played everyone in 2013,” Kelly said. “I don’t think some prospect who got called up could be considered an ace, but he pitched better than everybody in the entire major league baseball. There [are] difference instances where people say, hey, you have an ace or you don’t have an ace. It’s something that we’re going to hear throughout camp and that is OK.

“It’s something we have to stick together as a group of five and not really worry about the outside and try and stay on us and worry about how we’re going to build together as five and work on what we want to be known for. We sat down and talked about that a little bit and we want to be known for being tough competitor pitchers that never back down, pitch some innings and win more games than we lose.”

After being traded to the Red Sox along with Alan Craig for John Lackey at the trade deadline last year, Kelly went 4-2 with a 4.11 ERA in 10 starts with the Red Sox. Kelly said he loved playing in St. Louis, as that was the only organization he’s ever known.

“I loved playing for the Cardinals. It was awesome,” said Kelly. “It was one of the best experiences that I have had so far in my career. I got called up in 2012 and after I made my first start I went to go eat lunch at a restaurant and my meal was paid for. ‘Hey, good start.’ I had only been in the big leagues one day, so it’s kind of like [even if] you’re the 25th guy, you’re the call up, everyone knows who you are.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more Red Sox news, check out weei.com/redsox.

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Read More: 2015 spring training, Joe Kelly,
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