Deja vu: A rough spring outing for Papelbon

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Deja vu: A rough spring outing for Papelbon

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. Jonathan Papelbon threw 30 or more pitches in four outings last season. In each of those four games he was charged with blown saves although once coming away with a win and one loss.

Friday, in his fourth Grapefruit League outing, Papelbon threw 30 pitches, just 13 for strikes, and was charged with a blown save and a loss. Entering the game against the Twins with a two-run lead in the fifth inning, Papelbon recorded just one out a sacrifice fly giving up three runs as the Red Sox lost, 3-2.

Papelbons outing went like this: Double by Jason Kubel; stolen base by pinch-runner Ben Revere; hit Steve Holm with a pitch; sacrifice fly by Denard Span; walk to Tsuyoshi Nishioka; walk to Jason Rwpko. Papelbon left the bases loaded with one out for Jason Rice, who allowed a sacrifice fly to to ex-Red Sox first basean Jeff Bailey before ending the inning.

Six batters, three runs, one hit, three walks, a stolen base, and a hit batter, while recording just one out. They were the first runs, hits, or walks Papelbon has allowed this spring.

He struggled with command, up in the zone, said bench coach DeMarlo Hale, who was managing the split-squad game. I still thought he had some life. I thought he threw some good splits that had some good action, but he just was up in the zone. I think its something that he can look back on and say, OK, I had some bite to my split, a little adjustment.' Back in the zone with his fastball.

If Im in the season, I leave him in the game because hes capable of working out of that situation. But here in spring training we went and got him.

Papelbon declined to talk after his outing.

Said one scout in attendance: He struggled with throwing strikes and putting hitters away when he did get ahead. He appeared to be rushing his delivery some and had trouble finding his release point. But he has time to get it together.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

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Farrell angered after Castillo fails to run out grounder

Farrell angered after Castillo fails to run out grounder

The Red Sox signed Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract bn August 2014. Over parts of three seasons, the 29-year-old has a .679 OPS across 337 plate appearances in the majors and spent the vast majority of the 2016 season at Triple-A Pawtucket.

Castillo had a chance to start things off on the right foot in 2017, but that ship has already sailed. On Thursday against Northeastern at JetBlue Park, Castillo didn’t run out a routine ground ball. He claims he lost track of the outs. Manager John Farrell isn’t happy about the situation. Via Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald:

“Disappointing for a couple of reasons,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “One, he has lost the number of outs. Still, regardless of another of outs, getting down the line is controllable. And for a player in his situation, every little aspect of the game is important. That’s something that was addressed in the moment. He needs to execute the game situation. And for that matter, every player. But that one obviously stood out.”

Everyone always makes far too big a deal about running out grounders. It’s a real nit to pick when it’s February 23 and your team just finished playing an exhibition game that is even more meaningless than the other exhibition games that will be played in the coming month.

That being said, Castillo has to prove himself to merit inclusion on the 25-man roster and that means dotting all his i’s and crossing all his t’s. Even if he went hitless all spring, Castillo could have at least said he couldn’t have done anything else better. But on day one, he already gave his team a reason to count him out.