Ortiz continues to cherish All-Star Game appearances

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Ortiz continues to cherish All-Star Game appearances

KANSAS CITY -- After seven previous appearances, the All-Star Game is a familiar experience for David Ortiz. He's been part of winning teams and losing teams and his share of personal experiences.

Ortiz figured he would do the right thing Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium and come out of the game after one at-bat, giving playing time to Billy Butler, the host Kansas City Royals' lone representative.

American League manager Ron Washington had other ideas, though.

As the manager of the Texas Rangers, currently in the lead in the American League West and winners of the last two A.L. pennants, Washington had a selfish reason for wanting Ortiz to get more at-bats.

He wanted to win the 83rd annual All-Star Game, which would reward the Rangers with home field advantage in case they return to the World Series for a third straight October.

So the two compromised. Ortiz got two at-bats.

Against Matt Cain in the bottom of the second, Ortiz hit a fly ball to the warning track in left, just in front of the foul pole, which was caught by Ryan Braun.

Three innings later, he came up against lefty Clayton Kershaw and lined a single over shortstop Rafael Furcal's head to left. Ortiz then advanced to second on a single by Mike Napoili and to third on a groundout by Curtis Granderson. He was stranded at third, as the A.L. was blanked by the National League, 8-0.

"It was good, like always," said Ortiz of the experience. "Those guys (in the N.L.) came out hot (with five runs in the first). But it was a good experience. You just make sure that the fans enjoy it and have a good time. It's always good to put on a good show for them.

"It's always a blessing to be part of the All-Star Game. Having the fans voting and having you come out, it's great. It's something that never gets old and I always look forward to."

After his second at-bat, Ortiz was glad to cede the stage to Butler, who was left off the American League Home Run Derby team by New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, who served as the team captain.

Cano was booed mercilessly Monday night during the Derby.

"I think what everyone did to Robinson was kind of wrong, man," he said. "He wasn't trying to keep anybody out of the competition or anything like that. He went out and picked three guys to help him out to win and keep the title in the American League. Those guys that he picked (Jose Bautista, Prince Fielder and Mark Trumbo) were actually pretty good.

"It was a little rough, but everybody knows that Robinson is a Class A guy and he just wanted to make sure things go well in the All-Star Game for everybody."

While stopped at third base, Ortiz chatted with New York Mets third baseman David Wright and inquired about his contract status.

"I asked him, 'How many years you got left on your contract?' recalled Ortiz. "He said (he's eligible after next season). I said, 'Good luck to you. Hitting .351 . . . wow."

Asked if Wright returned the question about contracts, Ortiz laughed.

"Actually, no," said Ortiz. "He knows what's up with me."

Biggest Red Sox busts in recent memory

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Biggest Red Sox busts in recent memory

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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.