|Rusney Castillo isn’t worried about latest shoulder injury||05.27.15 at 5:16 pm ET|
The Red Sox outfielder, who re-injured his right shoulder diving for a catch in his team’s 2-1 loss to the Twins Tuesday night, proclaimed himself better and on the verge of returning to action.
“It’s tough to say exactly when,” Castillo said when asked about a return date. “We’re going day-to-day right now. I was ready to go in today, whether it be defensively or to run. I wouldn’t have been 100 percent, but I did feel much better as the day went on today. We’ll take it day-to-day and see how it feels tomorrow.”
Castillo was replaced in the Red Sox’ lineup by Brock Holt for the Red Sox’ 6-4 loss to the Twins Wednesday afternoon.
He insisted after the game that the injury wasn’t nearly as severe as the shoulder ailment which put him on the disabled list with Triple-A Pawtucket earlier this season.
“It’s not the same level of intensity or as serious of an injury,” said Castillo, who is 3-for-15 (.200) since joining the Red Sox. “Ideally, I could start playing [Thursday] or over the weekend. We’ll see how I feel. If not [Thursday], then the next few days I’m hoping.”
When asked about what has become a trend in regards to missing time due to injuries since signing with the Red Sox, Castillo said, “It’s at times a little concerning. Playing back in Cuba, I had never had any sort of injuries like this. It’s concerning, but at the same time every single one of them I’ve been able to bounce back relatively quickly. It’s not something I’m concerned with moving forward.”
|Closing Time: Red Sox hit low point with latest loss to Twins||05.27.15 at 3:39 pm ET|
The pitcher, Rick Porcello, who the Red Sox designated their stopper — judging by the $95 million committed over the next five seasons — allowed six runs over seven innings and now has an ERA of 5.37. In his last two starts, Porcello has given up 13 runs in 11 1/3 innings.
The three hitters (David Ortiz, Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez) the team invested in combined $52 million for this season finished off the Sox’ three-game series against the Twins with four hits (4-for-35, .115) and two RBI between them.
Most importantly for the Red Sox, the end result of the struggles was a three-game sweep at the hands of the Twins after Paul Molitor’s club’s 6-4 victory over the Sox Wednesday afternoon at Target Field.
The latest defeat pushed the Sox to five games under .500, entrenching their position in the basement of the American League East.
The Red Sox certainly aren’t panicking, but the master plan for how to contend isn’t bearing fruit thus far.
“We’re four games out of first-place so I’m not upset,” Dustin Pedroia said. “I’m upset about the way we’re playing, but if you look at the big picture we’re right there. Everybody can say whatever they want about our team but we’re one click away from being a championship caliber team. But right now we’re a last-place team. So hopefully it comes soon.”
The three games also marked the first time the Twins have swept the Red Sox since completing the feat in June 13-15, 2006 at the old since demolished Metrodome.
“Yeah, everybody here, pretty much everybody is champions,” Ramirez said. “They know how to win. They know how to win. I’ve been here for a month, month and a half, almost two months, and I’ve learned that from those guys. I’m trying to be on the same page, know what I mean? All I care right now is just win. We’re not winning lately, but we’re just going to stay at it every day.”
The only thing keeping the Red Sox competitive in the series finale were a pair of two-run homers from Pedroia.
SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Pedroia. The second baseman finished the series with a team-high five hits after his two homers and now finds his batting average at .290. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.
WHAT WENT WRONG
– As has been a trend this season, the Red Sox allowed their opponent to score immediately after their own offensive flurry. This time it was the Twins putting up three runs against Porcello in the third inning, a half inning after Pedroia’s first homer. The hosts’ response came in the form of two walks and three singles, including a Torii Hunter cue shot down the first base line that plated a pair.
“Again, the biggest inning is the one which follows after we score and that’s been a little bit of a nemesis so far to date,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “It’s difficult to maintain momentum when it’s given right back. He gets squeezed on the 3-2 pitch to [Aaron] Hicks that begins that three-run inning but still, there’s ample opportunities inside that inning to shut it off.”
– Porcello allowed his 10th and 11th homers of the season. The first came on a first-pitch changeup to Hicks in the fourth inning, with the Twins adding another in the sixth thanks to Eddie Rosario. The sinkerballer has now allowed the fourth-most homers of any pitcher in the majors.
“I got beat by two walks and two home runs. That was it,” Porcello said. “The walks were big. Both of those walks ended up scoring and then two pitches in the middle of the plate.”
– Swihart made a legitimate bid at tying the game in the seventh inning, driving a Brian Duensing pitch to the wall in left field. But Rosario, the Twins’ defensively-challenged left fielder, reached up at the last minute to grab the frame’s final out before crashing into the wall.
– Ortiz’s struggles were punctuated in the eighth inning, grounding out to third base with runners on first and second and two outs. The DH wasn’t able to continue his dominance at Target Field, finishing off the series going 1-for-12 to lower his batting average to .216. His day Wednesday included three ground outs and a pop up to the catcher.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
– Xander Bogaerts continued to display his improvement when it comes to defense. This time the shortstop ranged into the hole between short and third base, gathered in a Joe Mauer, leaped in the air (Derek Jeter-style) and tossed to first to end the first inning.
– The two home runs marked the second time this season Pedroia has managed a multiple home run game. It was the sixth time in his career he has managed the feat.
– Blake Swihart threw out his fourth base-stealer in 19 attempts, nailing Eduardo Escobar in the sixth inning. Escobar, who already had one stolen base in the game, was ruled out after a replay. It was particularly important at the time considering Eddie Rosario launched the first pitch after the replay into the right field bleachers to build the Twins’ lead back up to two runs.
|Buster Olney on MFB: Red Sox have ‘most fixable problems’ of AL East teams||05.27.15 at 1:49 pm ET|
ESPN baseball analyst Buster Olney joined Middays with MFB on Wednesday to discuss the Red Sox, their status within the American League East and how they can improve. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Last week, with the Red Sox seeming to heat up, Olney said that the team had a great opportunity to take advantage of a relatively weak AL East. Since then, the Sox offense has sputtered and the team has lost five of seven. However, Olney maintains that the Red Sox still have the best chance of any team in the division to turn things around.
“When you look at what they have as their list of potential solutions, it’s just a lot longer than, say, a team like Tampa Bay or the Yankees, where they’re pretty much stuck with the guys that they have, and it’s part of the reason why I think going forward [the Red Sox] have a chance to get better,” Olney said.
While the Red Sox have struggled this season, Olney said, “They have the most fixable problems and the most resources to fix them with,” as compared to other teams in the AL East.
One change Olney recommended is to move the lineup around based on day-to-day matchups rather than each player’s pedigree. The Sox, for example, moved the struggling David Ortiz down to fifth in the order for Tuesday and Wednesday’s games.
“That feels like the first step in what has to happen next in fixing the 2015 team, which is to get away from stature and past records and all that and just get back to picking the best lineup every day,” he said. “If you move Ortiz, who has the most stature on that team, you can probably do a lot of other things as you go.”
|Former Red Sox OF Yoenis Cespedes unhappy about treatment in Boston||05.27.15 at 12:54 pm ET|
Yoenis Cespedes’ time with the Red Sox was brief, and he said he knows why. Cespedes, now with the Tigers after an offseason trade, said he clashed with Sox first base coach Arnie Beyeler, and that led to what the outfielder implies was a smear campaign against him.
“There were some rumors in Boston, things that were said about me that I said were not true, so I knew they were going to trade me,” Cespedes told USA Today’s Jorge L. Ortiz. “The first base coach treated me like I was a rookie when I got there, wanted me to do things a rookie would do, and I told him I wasn’t going to, so he started talking.”
Cespedes was acquired by the Sox from the A’s at last year’s trade deadline. Right away there was speculation that he would not last in Boston, as he is due to become a free agent after the 2015 season.
The 29-year-old also questioned the decision-making of the A’s, who saw a drop-off in production after moving the Cuban slugger in a deal for Jon Lester. Oakland, which was in first place in the AL West at the time of the trade, went 22-33 the rest of the season. This season the A’s have the league’s worst record (17-31).
“[Fellow Cuban Ariel Prieto] would tell me Oakland is a school where they develop the players, then they let them go,” Cespedes said Monday before the Tigers opened a three-game series in Oakland. “I was a little surprised to see some of the main figures leave.”
Reminded that the A’s have a reputation for trading up-and-coming players rather than paying them, Cespedes replied: “Then why operate? Don’t they want to win a championship?”
A’s manager Bob Melvin said he’s not interested in discussing his former player.
“I think we have to move on,” Melvin said. “He’s with a new team and we have a new complement of guys. . . . Baseball’s a transient business. Guys move around from time to time. He’s just one of the guys who was here and had an impact, and he’s no longer here.”
Cespedes, who is hitting .285/.318/.469 with five home runs, 24 RBIs and a league-high 16 doubles in 47 games, is the two-time defending All-Star Home Run Derby champion, and he said he plans to defend his title this summer.
|Live blog: Red Sox, Rick Porcello take on Twins in series finale||05.27.15 at 12:22 pm ET|
|Jack of all trades: An in-depth look at Red Sox players’ versatility||05.27.15 at 12:16 pm ET|
Versatility is becoming more and more important to a team’s success.
Of the 13 position players on the Red Sox‘ 25-man roster, six have played multiple positions this year, and over the course of their careers 10 have played more than one position.
This movement goes down to the Triple-A level as well. Of the 12 position players on the active Pawtucket roster, nine have played multiple positions this year, many three positions.
“The benefit is the more options the manager has. At the major league level with good players, the better chance the manager has to fill out a deep lineup 162 times a year,” Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said. “If you have a bunch of guys on your roster that are more bound to one position or two, it just gets harder to get through the season and create deep lineups, good matchups, and then it’s also a huge advantage in terms of managing players’ health throughout the season.
“Brock Holt could play seven, eight places on the field theoretically. If there is a time when a player is dragging for whatever reason you can play Holt one day and still give yourself a chance to get good production and not get a drop-off. It might help the team, but also helps the player who gets the day off. There are all sorts of things for a potential benefit.”
The most notable versatile player in the organization is Holt, who has played six positions this year and last year played every position in the field besides catcher and pitcher.
There are others like Mookie Betts who was an infielder until early in the season last year when he was switched to center field, Xander Bogaerts, who added third base to his repertoire in 2013 and played both positions last year, and Hanley Ramirez, who is playing left field after spending his whole career on the left side of the infield.
“It’s huge,” Betts said of being able to play multiple positions. “You get to get in the lineup every day and, like I said, you create value for yourself and the team as well. That’s huge.”
|Red Sox notes: Eduardo Rodriguez to start Thursday; Rusney Castillo has shoulder issue||05.27.15 at 12:12 pm ET|
Prior to his team’s series finale against the Twins Wednesday, John Farrell announced Eduardo Rodriguez would be getting the start against the Rangers in Arlington, Texas Thursday.
It will be the major league debut for Rodriguez, who was acquired from the Orioles at last season’s non-waiver trade deadline in exchange for Andrew Miller.
The lefty has posted a 2.98 ERA in his eight starts with Triple-A Pawucket, striking out 44 and walking just seven. He is coming off a seven-inning outing Saturday in which the 22-year-old allowed two runs on nine hits, fanning six and not walking a batter.
Farrell noted that the Rodriguez start will allow for an extra day of rest for the rest of the Red Sox starts, while allowing for an opportunity get major league experience for the rookie.
“Very good stuff. Very good ability with his fastball, a lot of strikes, a lot of power to it,” Farrell said. “Changeup is a true weapon for him. The slider is a pitch that continues to come along. We wanted to build in the extra day for guys and get his debut kind of under his belt before we may possibly need him later on in the season.”
However, when asked what would happen if Rodriguez pitched “really, really, really well,” Farrell responded, “Then we’ll have to really, really, really reconsider.”
According to Red Sox catcher Blake Swihart, who caught Rodriugez earlier this season in Pawtucket, the pitcher’s strength is his power and competitiveness.
“He’s not scared to go after guys,” Swihart noted. “He’s very confident out there on the mound and he goes out there with the confidence that he’s going to win the battle. To just have a guy who goes out there and competes like that is nice.
“He just went out there and was consistent every time. You know you’re going to get a good game out of him, even if he doesn’t have his best stuff that day. … When you make it look easy to throw 95 it’s pretty easy to go with that. It’s just sneaky. Everything is hard. Slider is hard. Changeup is hard. And everything moves so much it’s effective.”
– Rusney Castillo, who made two outstanding diving catches in the Red Sox‘ 2-1 loss Tuesday night, is out of the lineup after aggravating a shoulder injury that plagued him during his time in Triple-A.
Farrell noted that it didn’t appear a trip to disabled list was going to be needed.
“He felt like he could swing the bat, and that was even the case last night if his at-bat came up in that final at-bat,” the manager said. “But was not going to go on the field defensively if we extended that game. He tested out the same this morning. There’s a couple of plains in the physical testing where we were able to reproduce the discomfort. We think this is minor in nature but he didn’t’ feel comfortable trying to get loose here this morning.”
|Red Sox lineup: Rusney Castillo gets day off; David Ortiz still batting fifth||05.27.15 at 11:16 am ET|
MINNEAPOLIS — The Red Sox will stick with generally the same batting order as Tuesday night, as Pablo Sandoval will again hit third and David Ortiz fifth in the series finale Wednesday afternoon against the Twins.
The Red Sox will look to avoid a three-game sweep.
Rusney Castillo will get the day off as Brock Holt starts in right field, as the team goes up against Twins right-hander Phil Hughes.
Blake Swihart will catch Red Sox starter Rick Porcello.
For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.
Here’s the complete Red Sox lineup:
|Curt Schilling on D&C: ‘Nothing has worked out’ for Red Sox||05.27.15 at 10:40 am ET|
ESPN baseball analyst and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday to talk about the state of the Red Sox and the reasons for the team’s struggles. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Schilling said that, looking at the Red Sox roster back in spring training, expectations and hopes were justifiably high.
“You look at this team and said, ‘They’re going to score, they’ve got a very solid rotation of power arms,’ and nothing has worked out that way,” Schilling said.
However, Schilling does not think that a big trade would be guaranteed to be a difference-maker for the Red Sox. He cautioned against making such a major move just for the sake of making one.
“You don’t want to do something at the deadline that has absolutely zero impact on you other than to give away prospects. … Do you make a move with a Mookie Betts or a Jackie Bradley Jr. or something that brings in that ace, that Cole Hamels, and then you finish seven games under .500 and out of the playoffs?” Schilling said.
Regarding the struggles of both Joe Kelly and David Ortiz, Schilling expressed frustration with Kelly’s disappointing start, considering his ability to throw “98 [mph] pretty much effortlessly.”
“I think you can look at just this eight-week sample and realize that you should be a little concerned. … He hasn’t adjusted, and it’s frustrating as hell to watch because you’re talking about a guy who should be going to the All-Star Game every year, battling to win his 20th in August and looking to put some hardware on his shelf every single season, and instead you’ve got this nightmare,” Schilling said.
|Wednesday Red Sox Farm Report: 3 Sox prospects in Keith Law’s new Top 25, RHP Joe Gunkel solid for Salem||05.27.15 at 10:22 am ET|
ESPN.com’s Keith Law updated his MLB Top 25 prospect list (with players currently in the majors ineligible), and three members of the Red Sox organization made Law’s register.
11 — Yoan Moncada, 2B (Low-A Greenville Drive). Law writes, ‘He has barely begun to play, but there’s broad consensus that he’s going to hit for average and power, although he may ultimately be better defensively at third than second.’
14 — Rafael Devers, 3B (Low-A Greenville Drive). ‘Devers is still not that polished at the player,’ Law writes, ‘but he has explosive bat speed and power, and even if he has to go to the outfield because of his size, he’s still a potential middle-of-the-order bat.’
18 — Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP (Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox). Law says, ‘Rodriguez has two plus pitches in his fastball and changeup, excellent control (albeit not command yet) and dominates lefties even though he doesn’t have a wipeout breaking ball.’
The other American League East prospects to make Law’s Top 25 are:
16 — Aaron Judge, RF, Yankees (Double-A Trenton)
17 — Daniel Norris, LHP, Blue Jays (Triple-A Buffalo)
21 — Dylan Bundy, RHP, Orioles (Double-A Bowie)
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