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Ben Cherington on Rusney Castillo after promotion: ‘He brings a lot’

05.22.15 at 5:23 pm ET
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Ben Cherington

Ben Cherington

On Friday the Red Sox recalled outfielder Rusney Castillo from Triple-A Pawtucket, and optioned back Jackie Bradley.

Castillo started the season with Triple-A Pawtucket, and suffered a shoulder injury the first weekend of the season. He got back with Pawtucket April 29 and started 0-for-11, but over his last 10 games there he was hitting .302 with two homers and seven RBIs, with hits in his last four games, including two, three-hit games.

After a few days of paternity leave earlier in the week, the outfielder returned to play for Pawtucket Thursday night before being promoted Friday.

“I think when we came out of spring training, we really felt like everything that he had done to that point, including last year, but also, spring training, had just confirmed for us the reasons why we signed him in the first place and that was because we felt and still feel that he is going to be a very good major league player and help us,” general manager Ben Cherington said to WEEI.com prior to Friday’s game.

“At the end of spring training we made a decision to give some other guys some opportunity first and then there was sort of a side benefit that it was going to allow him to go and play every day professionally — it was the one thing he hadn’t done yet because of his circumstance last year. And then he got hurt and missed two weeks, whatever it was, so that was a little bit of a speed bump. We had to get him back and get him back playing. Then he had a baby, so he missed a couple of days this week.

“We’ve always felt he’s a major league player and capable of helping us. We wanted to get him on some kind of roll, comfortable, get his timing and all that stuff. Hopefully that has mostly happened in Pawtucket and no he’s here. We’re trying to create the deepest lineup we can with the guys we have on a given night and we felt like he could be part of that. Now it’s up to John [Farrell] and how he is going to write the lineups out with these guys. I am sure he will get a chance to play, as I am sure other guys will play. He brings a lot — he can play defense, he can run, he has power. Hopefully he’s another piece to hopefully extending our lineup a little bit and building a deep lineup and make things a little tougher on the pitcher.”

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Red Sox outfielder Rusney Castillo says he’s not here to be ‘savior’

05.22.15 at 4:54 pm ET
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Rusney Castillo

Rusney Castillo

Rusney Castillo wants Red Sox fans to understand one thing: he’s no savior.

The Cuban outfielder who signed a $72.5 million contract last summer was summoned to make his 2015 debut for the Red Sox on Friday night. He’ll start in right field and bat eighth as the Sox open a three-game series against the Angels.

With the offense floundering and the team’s right field production the worst in baseball (.496 OPS), Castillo will be given a chance to give the team a spark.

“It’s obviously something you’ve heard about, but it’s not really something I’ve keyed in on or thought about too much,” Castillo said through translator Adrian Lorenzo before the game. “I’ve tried to stay in my lane and continue with my preparation. Obviously, you see the offense has been struggling a little bit, but in terms of being a savior, that’s definitely not what I’m thinking about.”

Castillo hit .293 with a pair of homers in 18 games at Triple-A Pawtucket. He also stole six bases and compiled a .781 OPS. To make room for him on the roster, the Red Sox demoted outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.

“Obviously, I’m very excited, but right now it’s just important to keep in mind the job at hand and try to keep the same momentum I had at Triple A,” Castillo said. “Hopefully just to add the same kind of energy I was bringing in Triple A.”

This has been a good week for Castillo, who celebrated the birth of a daughter before getting called to Fenway.

“Obviously it’s been very hectic, but very exciting,” Castillo said. “I’m very blessed that my wife gave birth to my daughter the last couple of days. I feel blessed that it’s all coming together at the same time, me coming up here, and thankfully everything went all right with her. It’s been hectic, but in a very positive way.”

Castillo, who battled an oblique injury in spring training and an ankle sprain at Triple-A, declared himself 100 percent healthy.

“To me, I’m 100 percent, mentally and physically,” he said. “I thought I did a good job in Triple A of trying to get to that place. I feel good about where I’m at.”

Red Sox-Angels series preview

05.22.15 at 2:05 pm ET
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Mike Trout (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Mike Trout heads to Fenway hitting .295/.394/.564 with 11 home runs and 22 RBIs. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

After hosting the Rangers at Fenway, the Red Sox wrap up a six-game homestand with a series against the Angels this weekend. The Sox have gone 5-5 in their last 10 games and lost the series to the Rangers. While the Red Sox starters have started to improve recently, the offense has continued to sputter.

In their past nine games, the Red Sox have scored more than two runs only once. The Sox sit at 19-22, in fourth place in the AL East. They are 3 1/2 games behind the first-place Rays.

Meanwhile, the Angels are second in the AL West, sitting 5 1/2 games behind the surprise Astros. Los Angeles has a 21-20 record after winning seven of its last 10 games.

The Angels lost Thursday night by an 8-4 score to the Blue Jays but won the series by way of victories in the first two games.

While the Red Sox offense certainly hasn’t been good as of late, it has produced more runs than the Angels. The Angels have scored just 151 runs, ranking 14th in the American League and 27th in the majors. The team batting average of .233 is the third worst in baseball.

The team’€™s pitching has allowed the Angels to get above .500 despite such an anemic offense. The pitching staff has a 3.57 ERA overall, good for fourth in the American League. With a .232 batting average against, the Angels rank third in the majors. The Red Sox, meanwhile, have a .259 batting average against, ranking 21st in baseball. On the season, the Angels have allowed one more run than they have scored, as they have played lots of close games.

“It’s better to win them than lose them, but we’re playing an incredible amount of one- and two-run games and holding our own,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of his team’s performance in close games. “It points to the job our starting pitchers have done keeping us in games while pitching with their backs against the wall, and what Joe Smith and Huston Street have done.”

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Read More: David Freese, David Ortiz, Mike Trout, xander bogaerts

Friday’s Red Sox-Angels matchups: Rick Porcello vs. Garrett Richards

05.22.15 at 8:48 am ET
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Rick Porcello

Rick Porcello

After a three-game series with the Rangers, the Red Sox begin another three-game set Friday at Fenway against the Angels. Boston will send Rick Porcello to the mound in the opener, opposing Garrett Richards.

Porcello enters the game with a 4-2 record, having won his last three decisions. Porcello’€™s 4.26 ERA is the lowest among qualified Red Sox starters, which helps to demonstrate the general mediocrity of the Sox staff thus far.

However, like the Red Sox pitching staff as a whole, Porcello has shown promise as of late. His most recent outing came Saturday against the Mariners and their ace, Felix Hernandez. Porcello went 6 2/3 innings, allowing five hits and two runs while striking out six. Porcello outdueled King Felix, and the Red Sox got the win by a margin of 4-2.

“I feel good,” Porcello said following the win. “I feel like I have a good fastball. It changes throughout the course of the season, from year to year. Some years you’ve got more behind it, and this year I feel that way, so we’re using the fastball more.”

The 27-year-old righty has allowed no more than three runs in his past four starts. That span has seen him concede just six runs in 25 2/3 innings combined, earning a 2.10 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. The Red Sox have won each of Porcello’€™s last five starts.

Porcello has not fared particularly well in the past against the Angels. In 11 career starts against them, he is 4-4 with a 6.52 ERA.

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Friday Red Sox Farm Report: Rusney Castillo returns, Allen Craig continues hot streak

05.22.15 at 8:36 am ET
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A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Thursday, May 21:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (23-19): L, 6-5, 10 innings, at Louisville (Reds)

Rusney Castillo

Rusney Castillo

— Rusney Castillo was back in the lineup after his paternity leave, batting second and playing in center field for his first action since Sunday. Castillo was 1-for-6 in his return with a smashed RBI double past third base in the third inning. Castillo struck out twice and grounded out twice, while also reaching on an error on a slow bouncer to shortstop. Baseball America’s No. 3 prospect in the Red Sox system and No. 21 overall in baseball, Castillo saw his average drop to .293. He was on a 7-for-16 stretch with two home runs, a double and four RBIs in the weekend before his leave.

— Allen Craig had a 3-for-4 night including a double and two walks as he hit from the three-hole in the lineup. Craig’s opposite-field single in the third inning tied the game at 2. Since being optioned from Boston and joining the PawSox on May 12, Craig has played in eight out of 10 games and gone 11-for-36 (.306) with three doubles, three walks, two runs and seven strikeouts. He played left field with Pawtucket for the first time Thursday after appearing twice in right, twice at first base and three times as the DH.

— Third baseman Garin Cecchini went 3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored to raise his average to .200. It was only Cecchini’s third multi-hit game in his last 25 contests with Pawtucket and his first three-hit game of the season. Selected by the Red Sox in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, the 24-year-old entered the season as the Red Sox’ No 3 prospect at MLB.com and No. 10 at Baseball America. Cecchini’s strikeout numbers are up this season and his walk totals down, as he is on pace for 38 more K’s and 14 fewer walks (projected to the 114 games he played in Triple-A last year).

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Read More: Allen Craig, garin cecchini, joe gunkel, kevin mcavoy

Xander Bogaerts can’t get over Red Sox’ terrible luck: ‘Are you kidding me? It’s weird’

05.21.15 at 11:41 pm ET
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Xander Bogaerts and the Red Sox are desperately searching for answers. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Xander Bogaerts and the Red Sox are desperately searching for answers. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The way things are going for the Red Sox they can’t win for losing, even when they try to do the right thing to end their misery with runners on base.

If there’s one play that sums up the perfect storm of bad luck and bad execution of the Red Sox with runners in scoring position this season it’s what happened to Xander Bogaerts in the fifth inning of Thursday’s latest anemic loss, 3-1, to the Rangers at Fenway.

With one out, Xander Bogaerts worked a walk. Then with Daniel Nava up, he took off for second base. Nava swung and hit it right into the hole vacated by the second baseman covering the bag. One problem: The right foot of Bogaerts. Namely, the bottom of his cleat. The ball grazed it just enough to change direction and by rule, instead of first and third with one out, Bogaerts was immediately out and Nava given credit for a single.

Sandy Leon struck out swinging to end the inning and the Red Sox still trailed, 3-1.

When things go bad.

“I guess you could say that,” Bogaerts lamented. “Again another tough loss tonight. Probably the play there when I tried to steal and that ball hit me. That was probably the game-changer. I never was aware that ball even touched me until when I came back down [in dugout tunnel] and I saw it on the video monitor. It just scratched the bottom of my cleat or something like that. I didn’t know that ball hit me at all.

“I could’ve bet anything I never felt that ball touched me at all. I was pretty surprised they called me out because I didn’t feel anything. But when you look at the video, you see the deflection of the ball but I had no clue that ball touched me at all.”

Bogaerts at least maintained his sense of humor and perspective when asked how for answers to how the Red Sox can break out of a 5-for-53 slump with runners in scoring position.

“If the ball stops hitting us,” Bogaerts said. “That was first and third right there. The baseball field is so big. What are the chances the ball is going to hit me on the bottom of my cleat? Are you kidding me? It’s weird.”

The Red Sox are now batting a measly .234 with runners on. Only Seattle (.232) and Cincinnati (.228) are worse in MLB. Put runners on and it’s even worse. The Red Sox are batting .199 in such cases and only the hapless Reds are worse at .189. Certainly, no one could’ve imagined this for a team that had such an offensive overhaul in the offseason. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Red Sox, xander bogaerts,

Searching for positives: Clay Buchholz lone bright spot in Red Sox’ loss to Rangers

05.21.15 at 11:25 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz threw his team-leading sixth quality start of the season despite the Red Sox' loss. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Clay Buchholz threw his team-leading sixth quality start of the season despite the Red Sox‘ loss. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

It’s hard to imagine any positive from the Red Sox‘ 3-1 loss to the Rangers in the final game of a three-game set where the Rangers took two-of-three from the Sox at Fenway, but there actually was one in starter Clay Buchholz.

The right-hander continued to ride the train that the Red Sox starters have been on of late, going at least five innings and allowing two earned runs in eight straight games, and going at least six innings in seven of those eight games.

Buchholz went 7 1/3 innings allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits, while walking two and striking out four. It was his team-leading sixth quality start and third straight.

“[I felt like] I threw the ball well,” Buchholz said. “First inning, Bogey [Bogaerts] tried to turn a double play, didn’t get a handle on the ball.  That guy is pretty quick, so lost him right there and he scored. Other than that a solo home run. If you’re going to give up home runs, a solo home run is the way to go. Surprised the ball got out. Right when he hit it I thought it was going to be off the wall for sure, but it just kept going. Strong man. But yeah, overall I felt like I threw the ball pretty well. Mixed pitches. It was unfortunate.”

The Rangers scored two runs in the first — on the same play. With the bases loaded and one out, Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts were looking to turn a double play, but Bogaerts couldn’t make the tranfer as he dropped the ball when he went to turn the double play (ruled an error). Two runs scored, the second being unearned and the Rangers took a quick 2-0 lead.

They scored again in the fourth when Mitch Moreland hit a solo homer, giving the the Rangers a 3-0 lead at the time.

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Read More: Clay Buchholz, John Farrell,

Closing Time: Punchless Red Sox once again stymied in loss to Rangers

05.21.15 at 10:01 pm ET
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Wandy Rodriguez

Wandy Rodriguez

If you’re left-handed, grab a glove — you might be able to shut out the Red Sox.

In what easily goes down as the most mystifying facet of a mystifying season, the Red Sox once again on Thursday night illustrated how hopelessly overmatched they are against southpaws of any shape or size.

This time it was Wandy Rodriguez’s turn. The Rangers lefty began the game 1-2 with a 3.86 ERA, but the Red Sox made him look like Lefty Grove. Rodriguez limited the Sox to four hits and a run in 6 2/3 innings, walking two and striking out five in a 3-1 victory.

The Red Sox entered the matchup batting just .199 against lefties, and that number dropped after Rodriguez finished with them. He particularly baffled them with a curveball that he used as a two-strike hammer.

The Red Sox also once again showed an inability to take advantage of what few opportunities they created.

They put runners at second and third leading off the fourth and scored just once on a David Ortiz groundout, squandering another run when Hanley Ramirez swung for the fences and instead dribbled one in front of home plate, allowing Rodriguez to erase Dustin Pedroia at the plate.

An inning later, they had a chance for runners on the corners with one out, but Xander Bogaerts was clipped in the cleat by a hit-and-run Daniel Nava single and called out for interference.

That was about it for the Red Sox, who wasted a gutty start by right-hander Clay Buchholz, who lacked fastball command for most of the night, but nonetheless navigated his way into the eighth inning while allowing just two earned runs.

Buchholz made just one real mistake, an 0-1 cutter that Mitch Moreland ripped into the left field seats for a solo homer in the fourth. Otherwise, the Rangers did very little after scratching out two runs in the first.

Two runs was about all they’d need, though, against an anemic Red Sox offense that isn’t just struggling against lefties, it’s struggling against everyone.


Rangers left-hander Wandy Rodriguez toyed with the Red Sox for most of the night, limiting them to four hits and a run in 6 2/3 innings. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.

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Red Sox Minor League Notebook: Yoan Moncada already making quite the impression with Single-A Greenville

05.21.15 at 8:22 pm ET
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Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

Rarely is there a buzz and an electric atmosphere with a Single-A game, but that has been the case all week with the professional debut of 19-year-old, highly touted Red Sox prospect Yoan Moncada with Single-A Greenville.

After he signed a minor league contract that featured a $31.5 million signing bonus on March 12, the Cuban prospect spent a little over a month extra in spring training to get acclimated to the American game and since he hadn’t played organized baseball in over a year.

Sunday night it was announced the second baseman’s professional debut would be Monday and it officially became Moncada Mania.

“We haven’t had somebody in our organization since I’ve been around anyway that has got this kind of attention for their debut,” Red Sox director of player development Ben Crockett said. “He’s handled it really well. I think our job and our goal is to put him in the best position to handle some of those things and something he’s balanced really well.

“He’s handled the attention. He’s handled the extra interviews and things like that that some of the other guys don’t have to do. As far as his very short stint here he hasn’t shied away from the spotlight playing games in a packed ballpark and an electric type of environment.”

Going into Thursday night, Moncada had gone 4-for-12 with three runs scored in three games.

Moncada had spent some time with his new teammates when they were together in Fort Myers.

Infielder Mauricio Dubon was one of the first players Moncada made a connection with in Florida, and Dubon has noticed a big difference in the type of player Moncada is now, compared to back in March when he first signed.

“Oh yeah, he’s way better,” Dubon said via phone Thursday. “I understand it’s spring training and he went a year without playing ball. He looks more comfortable. He’s a great player. He’s a really good player.”


Even before Moncada joined Greenville, there were a number of talented infielders with the team — 2014 first-round pick Michael Chavis (third base), 18-year-old International free agent signing Rafael Devers (third base), 2012 International free agent signing Javier Guerra (shortstop), 2013 26th round pick Dubon (shortstop/second base) and 2013 30th round pick Nick Longhi (first base).

Devers leads the team hitting .325, while Guerra is third hitting .299. While Chavis’ average isn’t where he wants it (.219), he’s shown some power with four home runs.

Two of those infielders, three including Moncada, were acquired as International free agents, something the Red Sox have taken full advantage of recent years. Crockett noted how important that market has become for the organization.

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Read More: ben crockett, mauricio dubon, rafael devers, Red Sox Minor League Notebook

Red Sox injury updates: Shane Victorino out with ‘general soreness'; Pablo Sandoval ‘much improved’

05.21.15 at 5:10 pm ET
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Shane Victorino was in the original lineup posted shortly after 3 p.m. Thursday, but just a few minutes later a revised one was sent out with Victorino scratched and Daniel Nava inserted to make his third straight start in right field.

“[Victorino] is held out tonight with some soreness,” said manager John Farrell. “It’s more centralized around the left calf. Not anything related to the lower back or hamstring that he’s dealt with in the past. Precautionary he’s held out tonight.”

The right fielder was inserted as a pinch-hitter for Nava Wednesday and went 2-for-2. He is hitting .421 since returning from the disabled list on May 11 following a hamstring injury suffered on April 25.

“Not anything inside of last night’s game that caused anything,” said Farrell of the late scratch. “Just general soreness. Like I said, general soreness overall, but somewhat localized in the calf.”

Farrell is hopeful he will be available over the weekend.

Over the past two seasons, Victorino has missed a total of 153 games with a variety of injuries, mostly to his back and hamstring. Given the 34 year old’s injury history, Farrell said it wasn’t totally unexpected to have to scratch him without much advance notice.

“Not unexpected to a certain extent,” Farrell said. “You know you’re going to have to run him out there a few days, back off on days even if he feels he’s capable. Almost to protect him against himself. This is a little bit unforeseen, but like I said, you walk in the clubhouse everyday knowing there are 25 guys at your disposal and that is not always the case.”

The news is better for third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who is out of the lineup again after missing Wednesday’s game following taking a 97 mph fastball off the knee Tuesday night.

“Pablo is much improved today,” said Farrell. “There is still some soreness there. Giving him another day, particularly with a left-handed starter on the mound and we anticipate him back in the lineup tomorrow.”

Brock Holt starts at third base in Sandoval’s absence.

It’s also worth noting Rusney Castillo will return to the PawSox lineup Thursday and hit second following being out the last two days on paternity leave. It shouldn’t be long before the outfielder is in Boston.

Read More: daniel nava, Pablo Sandoval, Shane Victorino,
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