After about a month of waiting, Red Sox fans finally got their first look at Rusney Castillo on Wednesday. The 27-year old Cuban defector assumed the seventh spot in the Red Sox order, and manned center field in his first big league game. After playing in three championships on his rise through the Red Sox farm system, Castillo’s quickly realized that the 2014 Red Sox didn’t share the same success as their lower level clubs. After just two innings, Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz had already surrendered four runs to the Pirates, and only lasted four innings before being lifted from the game. In the Red Sox half of the second inning, Castillo dug in the batters box for the first time as a member of the Red Sox. The Cuban defector jumped ahead in the count 2-1, then chopped the fourth pitch of the at-bat in front of Russell Martin who fired to first to record the out. In his second at-bat of his career, Castillo collected an infield single against Francisco Liriano. After taking the first pitch for a ball, Castillo ripped a grounder to Pirates second baseman Neil Walker, who couldn’t corral the ball in time to beat the speedy Castillo. But Rusney wasn’t the only one who collected his first major league hit on Wednesday, Red Sox outfield prospect Bryce Brentz roped a double for his first MLB hit. Brentz would later come around to score the Red Sox first and only run of the game, on a Xander Bogaerts RBI ground out. The Pirates went on to tally nine runs against Clay Buchholz and Steven Wright, while rookies Matt Barnes and Heath Hembree tallied 3 shutout frames.
- With just ten games left in the season, the Red Sox can’t expect to draw any conclusions on Rusney Castillo ability to handle himself in the majors, but Ben Cherington isn’t really interested in game results. Instead, Boston is focused on simply getting the 27-year old acclimated with his new team, and watching how he uses the skills he possesses. Castillo’s brief stint with Red Sox this season is more about learning, than it is about wishing he’ll set the league on fire. (Final fortnight more about acclimation than evaluation for Rusney Castillo)
- Dustin Pedroia’s toughness and heart has never been brought into question among Red Sox fans, but wondering how the 30-year old’s style of play will impact his future certainly has. For the second straight year, Pedroia has found himself battling another injury; with his wrist giving him troubles this season. But if you ask anyone on the Red Sox, they’ll tell you that they know Pedroia will be back and better than ever for the coming seasons. (Butterfield: Pedroia “toughest guy I’ve seen”)
- Besides Rusney Castillo’s much anticipated debut, Wednesday night’s Red Sox game offered some interesting story lines. Clay Buchholz, who had been pitching well of late, was batted around despite feeling good about his pitches. Also, rookies Bryce Brentz, Garin Cecchini, and Steven Wright saw game action, and enjoyed varying levels of success. (Why you should have cared about Wednesday’s Red Sox loss)
- Behind every great team, there’s a great group of executive and coaches, and Red Sox are no exception. Therefore, some members of Boston’s team of unsung hero’s have already been courted by MLB clubs looking to fill a variety of positions. Allard Baird, the Red Sox Vice President of Player Personnel, is rumored to be high atop the Arizona Diamondback’s list of general manager candidates. Meanwhile, Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo is reportedly on the Astros managerial wishlist. (MLB teams seeking permission with Red Sox front office and field staff for open positions)
- For the past 43 years, Major League Baseball has given the Roberto Clemente Award to the player who makes a positive contribution on the field and off the field. All 30 clubs select a nominee from their team that they feel best embodies baseball and charity. For the second straight year, the Red Sox nominated Craig Breslow for the award, based on the success of his Strike 3 Foundation. (Breslow named Sox’s nominee for Clemente Award)
- Tweet of the day: I’ll take Napoli in a landslide victory.
At one point in the clubhouse today, Mike Napoli was playing chess against the trio of Betts, Vazquez and Bogaerts. Need to check who won
— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) September 17, 2014