Lillibridge makes first start with Red Sox in center field

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Lillibridge makes first start with Red Sox in center field

BOSTON Brent Lillibridge, acquired in the trade with the White Sox for Kevin Youkilis on Sunday, is making his first start with the Red Sox Tuesday night, playing center field, batting ninth.

See how he fits in as part of the team, manager Bobby Valentine said. This team needs to see him play and hes actually had some success against this guy (3-for-4 with an RBI with an RBI vs Blue Jays left-hander Aaron Laffey) in the past. So maybe well find a little something.

Lillibridge, who went into Mondays game in the ninth inning replacing Cody Ross in right field, appeared in just three games, five starts, in center field for the White Sox.

Yeah, get it out of the way, Lillibridge said of his first start. Better now than later because I just want to get out there and get a chance to play. I want to be out there and show guys what I can do. I know what I can do. And obviously Im here because they know what I can do, and hopefully help us win a game tonight.

Lillibridge has appeared in eight games, with two starts, in Fenway Park.

Its tough work out here to be an outfielder, he said of playing at Fenway. Ive played right field here and Ive been playing a little bit of center and left with the White Sox and its different. I hope I can understand it better as Im here all the time and work on it during batting practice, especially taking balls off the wall and stuff just to get a feel for it. But its kind of first reaction, first instinct and kind of go from there, and hopefully dont run too hard into that big heavy wall. I dont see too much padding out there.

The versatile Lillibridge can also play the infield. With the presence of Nick Punto, Valentine was asked if Lillibridge would be called upon more to play outfield than infield.

I have no idea, Valentine said. If he could play both, itd be really a plus. Ive been told that he can and he says that hes most comfortable in center field. Weve seen where hes played in the past, well figure it out.

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.

Moreland, Travis homer to lead Red Sox past Northeastern 9-6 in opener

Moreland, Travis homer to lead Red Sox past Northeastern 9-6 in opener

Mitch Moreland and Sam Travis hit three-run homers and left-hander Brian Johnson started and pitched two scoreless innings to help the Red Sox win their spring training opener, 9-6, over Northeastern University on Thursday in Fort Myers, Fla.

Johnson, who made one spot start in his MLB debut with the Red Sox in 2015 but then was derailed by injuries and anxiety issues last season, struck out three and walked one Thursday. He's expected to start the season at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he went 5-6 with a 4.44 ERA in 15 starts in 2016.

Moreland, the left-handed hitting first baseman signed to a one-year deal after spending his first seven seasons with the Texas Rangers, and Travis, a right-handed hitting first base prospect coming back from knee surgery last season, each hit three-run homers in a six-run third inning.

Pablo Sandoval, attempting to reclaim the third-base job after missing nearly all of last season after surgery on his left shoulder, went 1-for-2 with a double. 

The Red Sox open Grapefruit League play Friday afternoon when they host the New York Mets at JetBlue Park.