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Agent: Rusney Castillo eligible to start playing in games 08.28.14 at 12:53 am ET
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Juan Perez, the president and CEO of Roc Nation Sports, told ESPNBoston.com  Wednesday that Rusney Castillo has secured a work visa from the United States government and is immediately eligible to start playing in games. Perez’s agency represents Castillo, who signed a seven-year, $72 million deal with the Red Sox last week.

Castillo began working out in Fort Myers, Fla. Wednesday, and was scheduled to continue is workouts at JetBlue Park Thursday. There would be an opportunity for the outfielder to see game action with the Red SoxGulf Coast League team, which is scheduled to participate in a one-game playoff Friday with the chance to move on to a best-of-three final round with a win.

A team source suggests that Castillo will still need 2-3 days of team-monitored workouts before a decision is made regarding where he might start game participation.

According to the report, the P-1A visa extends for five years, with the opportunity to extend another five years. Castillo will be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship while holding the visa.

Prior to Wednesday, Castillo’s only other visit to the Red Sox‘ minor league facility came Aug. 1 when the team put the 27-year-old through a private workout.

Closing Time: Rogers Centre, Blue Jays doom Junichi Tazawa once again 08.27.14 at 9:48 pm ET
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Junichi Tazawa had yet another rough outing in Rogers Centre, Wednesday night. (Getty Images)

Junichi Tazawa had yet another rough outing in Rogers Centre, Wednesday night. (Getty Images)

Joe Kelly deserved a better fate. Junichi Tazawa’s fate? Well, that was all too familiar.

The Red Sox starter hurled his second straight solid start, Wednesday, but ended up with nothing to show for it. Kelly was pulled after just 86 pitches, leaving the Sox’s fate in hands of their bullpen. It didn’t work out for John Farrell or his starting pitcher.

The Sox fell victim to a four-run seventh inning by the Blue Jays, paving the way for a 5-2 loss to the hosts at Rogers Centre.

As has been the case so many times against the Jays, Tazawa took the brunt of Toronto’s offensive attack. This time the Red Sox reliever finished his inning being charged with two runs, having allowed a key, pinch-hit, three-run homer off the bat of former Sox third baseman Danny Valencia.

After the game, both Farrell and Tazawa suggested to reporters they had identified the issue against the Jays, believing the reliever might be tipping his pitches.

“They picked up something that we felt like we corrected two and a half months ago,” Farrell said. “Tonight was a matter of a ball that ran back to the inner third of the plate against Valencia rather than staying down and away from him.”

“I think that was a fact in the past,” Tazawa noted via a translator. “It was mentioned in the past when I had some meetings with my coaches but I think that I have already eradicated that.”

Kelly started the pivotal seventh inning, allowing a lead off double by Edwin Encarnacion. With the Red Sox clinging to a one-run lead, Farrell brought on lefty Tommy Layne to face left-handed hitter Dioner Navarro. But — after a dropped pop-up by Sox catcher David Ross — the Jays catcher kept things going with a single to left.

That paved the way for Tazawa, who entered the game with a 7.71 ERA in eight games at the home of the home of the Jays. The righty promptly surrendered the three-run blast to Valencia, who was pinch-hitting for Juan Francisco, giving the Blue Jays a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Tazawa allowed another run later in the frame when Kevin Pillar came home on a fielder’s choice grounder to shortstop by Jose Reyes. Pillar initially reached on a double one batter after Valencia’s homer.

The Red Sox had claimed the lead with two runs in the sixth, coming on a David Ortiz RBI single and a run-scoring wild pitch by Jays starter Marcus Stroman.

Kelly finished his six-plus-inning outing allowing just two runs on three hits, striking out four and walking two. The reason for his early departure, according to Farrell, were precautionary measures after the shoulder soreness the pitcher felt in his previous start.

“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,” the manager said. “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.”

“It’s a manager’s decision. I have no right to say anything,” Kelly told reporters. “I respect everything every manager I’ve ever played for has for the game. I should have never let that guy on. It was one of the more missed fastball command pitches I had all night, especially a fastball down and away, and I threw it up and right down the middle and he put a barrel on it, kind of, and got a double out of it. Credit to him. He’s a really good hitter.”

Recently-recalled Edwin Escobar made his major league debut, pitching a perfect eighth inning for the Red Sox.

Shane Victorino remains unfazed by wave of new Red Sox outfielders 08.26.14 at 11:30 am ET
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TORONTO — The initial response was predictable.

“Nothing has changed,” said Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino just before the team left on its current road trip.

Physically, not much would be expected to be altered since the right fielder last appeared near the Sox clubhouse. The doctors had told Victorino that it would be a month before twisting, bending and such would be allowed after the outfielder’s back surgery. It had only been a couple of weeks.

But there was indeed something that had changed in Victorino’s world.

For the second time in the last month, the Red Sox acquired an outfielder expected to start in 2015, signing Cuban center fielder Rusney Castillo. And as someone who fully expects to not have lost his starting job, that was of some interest to Victorino.

First there was the trades for Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig, leaving some to believe Victorino might be moving to center. But then came the Castillo commitment and now projected lineups are a bit more difficult to decipher.

“It’s not a bad problem to have. It gives you options. It makes guys expendable, if that’s something that you want to look at,” he said. “But again, I don’t know what the front office has in mind. I mean, obviously, you look at what’s starting to happen. With the signing of Castillo, I mean, obviously, with that contract, he’s going to play every day. Cespedes is going to play every day. Where are you going to factor in everybody else? Like I said, I still have every intention in my mind to be the right fielder every day. I have no desire to be anything else. But, as I said, we all understand that this is a business, who knows what can happen, but like I said, my mindset is to get prepared for 2015, to be the right fielder and play every day here, and we’ll go from there.”

Victorino will be heading into the final year of his three-year, $39 million deal in ’15. He was coming off a stellar ’13 campaign, not only hitting .294 with an .801 OPS, 15 homers and 21 stolen bases (in 24 attempts), but supplying a fair amount of postseason heroics.

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Koji Uehara after latest blown save: ‘It’s nothing about fatigue’ 08.25.14 at 11:45 pm ET
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Koji Uehara

Koji Uehara

TORONTO —  His drop-off-the-table split-fingered fastball might be on hiatus, but Koji Uehara hasn’t lost his sense of humor.

Following the Red Sox‘ 4-3 win over the Blue Jays — in which Uehara allowed the hosts to tie the game in the ninth by allowing all three inherited baserunners to score — the closer was asked if fatigue might be an issue.

“It’s nothing about fatigue,” he said through a translator.

Later, when reminded he had tossed 148 total innings (and 2,095 total pitches) over the last two seasons, Uehara reiterated his stance. “Still, I don’t think that’s the case.”

Finally, the reliever relented.

“I’m willing to take a break for a month,” he joked. Then, with the reporters walking away, Uehara added, “See you next year.”

Uehara is in a rut like nothing the Red Sox have seen since he joined the club starting in 2013. Coming into Monday night, he had allowed at least one run in three straight outings.

This time, he wasn’t charged with a run but did allow one run to score via a fielder’s choice after coming on for Clay Buchholz with one out and the bases loaded in the ninth. Then he gave up the game-tying hit, a two-run double off the left field wall off the bat of Edwin Encarnacion.

The Encarnacion blast, which was just out of the reach of an outstretched Yoenis Cespedes, epitomized Uehara’s problem of late — the result of an ineffective splitter.

“It’s about my split,” he said. “I’m not controlling it.” He then added, “All I can say is that I’m not finishing the pitches as I want to.”

In Uehara’s last four outings, he has given up seven runs on 10 hits. Prior to August, since joining the Red Sox, the righty’s high for the entirety of any entire single month was three runs and nine hits.

As of now, Red Sox manager John Farrell said there is no plan to shut the reliever down for a time. (It should be noted that Uehara has thrown just 36 more pitches this season than he had on Aug. 25 last year.)

“Not at this point. What we’re being very conscious of is the frequency of the use,” Farrell said. “There’s nothing physical that is a restriction for him. We check in with him every day. He goes through his normal throwing program. Wouldn’t rule it out, but at this point we haven’t considered shutting him down.”

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David Ortiz thought his foot was broken (but it’s not) 08.25.14 at 4:24 pm ET
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TORONTO — Even thought David Ortiz was still hobbling around the visiting clubhouse at Rogers Centre Monday — sitting out of the starting lineup in the Red Sox‘€™ series opener against the Blue Jays —  the designated hitter felt he dodged a bullet.

Ortiz feared the worst after fouling a ball off his right foot during the fourth inning of the Red Sox’€™ loss Sunday afternoon.

There were no broken bones, just a lot of pain (and inflammation).

“It was not good. I thought I broke something, or something like that,” Ortiz explained. “This morning I got up, I had breakfast, took some anti-inflammatories and went back to sleep. Four hours later the swelling was reduced a little bit. If it happens tomorrow I might be able to play if I’€™m not hurting as bad as I am right now.

“I can’€™t put much weight on yet. Yesterday, my last at-bat, I took a swing and missed and it didn’€™t feel right. Then once I hit I tried to take off running and you guys saw what happened. It should have been a double but I couldn’€™t get it done. So, we’€™ll see. Hopefully it’€™s better tomorrow and if I’€™m able to run I’€™ll play.”

Ortiz explained that foul ball might have been the most painful he had incurred throughout his career.

“Yeah, I think I got away with [stuff] right there. It is what it is,” he said. “The ball that I hit yesterday off my foot ‘€¦ I hit balls off my foot ball the time, but I think that was the worst I’€™ve ever hit a ball off my foot. I went straight to the ground. It was a pitch that was cutting in. It seemed like the same velocity coming in was the same velocity going at my foot. That’€™s why I say I got away with something, not having anything broken.”

Mike Napoli takes Ortiz’ spot at designated hitter, with Allen Craig filling in at first base.

Red Sox lineup: Foot keeps David Ortiz out against Blue Jays 08.25.14 at 3:24 pm ET
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David Ortiz was hobbled in the fourth inning after fouling a ball off his foot Sunday. The injury would ultimately make him exit the game in the sixth. (Getty Images)

David Ortiz was hobbled in the fourth inning after fouling a ball off his foot Sunday. The injury would ultimately make him exit the game in the sixth. (Getty Images)

TORONTO — After leaving Sunday’s game with a contused right foot — having fouled a ball off himself in the fourth inning — David Ortiz is not in the Red Sox‘ starting lineup Monday against Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ.

While an initial exam ruled out any fracture, Ortiz was noticeably sore following the Sox’ loss Sunday. Taking his place at designated hitter will be Mike Napoli, with Allen Craig getting his first start at first base as a member of the Red Sox.

Ortiz has more home runs (37) at Rogers Centre than any other visiting player.

Here is the Sox’ lineup with Clay Buchholz on the hill for the visitors:

Brock Holt SS

Dustin Pedroia 2B

Yoenis Cespedes LF

Mike Napoli DH

Allen Craig 1B

Daniel Nava RF

Will Middlebrooks 3B

Mookie Betts CF

Christian Vazquez C

Clay Buchholz says he’s ready to take his turn helping lead a starting staff 08.25.14 at 1:00 pm ET
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TORONTO — There have been times throughout Clay Buchholz‘s career when he was the best pitcher on the Red Sox‘ starting staff. But at no time was he perceived as the kind of leader all others should file in line behind.

Like it or not, that dynamic suddenly has shifted.

Buchholz is the last man standing in a rotation that was full of veterans. Gone are Jon Lester, John Lackey and Jake Peavy. Left behind is Buchholz, who just turned 30 years old 11 days ago, and a bunch of 20-somethings.

So, with that in mind, the obvious question should be asked of the righty: Are you ready to lead a staff?

“I’ve always been the best at what I’ve done. When I got to the big leagues it was the first time I wasn’t the best. So I always carried myself, I’m not the most vocal person ever, but I know what I need to do to get my job done,” he said during a recent sit-down at Fenway Park. “Sometimes it doesn’t happen but I know my thought process was right going into it. Having those guys, the Jon Lesters and the Lacks and Peavys and [Josh] Becketts and [Curt Schillings], that definitely helps a lot because you can pick their brains and learn a lot about the game, you sort of try to take everything you can that’s going to help you. I’ve been able to do that over the last six, seven years with a lot of great baseball minds. I feel like if that’s sort of what I’m slated to do is be the veteran guy on the team and help out.

“I’m feeling more and more comfortable with the role I have right now as each day goes by.”

There is the element of leading by example when put in the position as head of any starting staff. But there is also the reality that such a pitcher has to be consistently productive, which Buchholz is currently trying to establish after the worst season of his career.

If Buchholz does rediscover success, then the conversation is pushed toward his role in the midst what has become a uncertain group of youngsters.

It’s a dynamic he’s not unfamiliar with.

“Even before Lack and Lester and Peavy left, that’s a lot of years of baseball between a select number of guys. They would be sitting and watching video or something and they would ask me ‘What do you see right there?’ and another day I’d ask them. So everybody is helping each other, not just one person helping everybody out,” he said. “It’s sort of everyone going in and helping each other and I think that’s what makes a pitching staff stronger than maybe it should be because the guys trust each other and you build sort of what you’re trying to do. You’re scouting report goes off of what other guys are saying. That’s sort of how pitching can be difficult and make it a little bit easier at the same time.

“It definitely helps if they’re the guys that are the ones that can give you advice without it critical. I’ve had a good mix of just about everything. [Tim Wakefield] would be the first person to come up to me and tell me, ‘Hey, this is what I see.’ That helped me a lot because he’s been around the game a long time. Wake pitched with Pedro [Martinez], saw him, saw Schill. He knows what he’s talking about when it comes to pitching and he’s one I’ll always listen to even though he threw a knuckleball. He was really good a breaking down mechanics and he’s helped me out this year, too.

“There’s definitely good to having older guys on the club. But none of these guys are here because they just got lucky. They’re here because they throw good pitches and they deserve to be in the big leagues. That’s first and foremost for me.”

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