Ortiz ends scorching April with two home runs

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Ortiz ends scorching April with two home runs

BOSTON -- Prior to Monday night, Oakland Athletics lefty Tommy Milone had never allowed a hit nor a home run to a left-handed batter in the 53 innings he had pitched since coming into the big leagues last year.

That all changed in the second inning, when David Ortiz smashed a 3-2, 87-mph fastball into the Oakland bullpen for a solo home run, tying the game at 1-1.

Ortiz later added to that, smashing an 86-mph fastball into the Red Sox bullpen for another solo home run in the fifth inning, which gave Boston a 7-1 lead.

It marks Ortiz' first-career game with multiple home runs against left-handed pitching, and it was his 38th multi-homer game of his career.

"David's a star of stars for right now," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine after Boston's 11-6 win over the A's on Monday night at Fenway Park. "It's hard to throw a strike by him. He's using all fields. He's seeing the ball awfully well. I know that's the old cliche, but he gets two balls and no strikes, it doesn't even bother him to take, because he's very confident right now. His swing is as good as I think it can get."

Ortiz now has 384 career home runs, and moved past Jim Rice, Frank Howard, and Larry Walker, and into a tie with Harold Baines for 57th on baseball's all-time list.

"Hes a really good force in the lineup, in any lineup," said Red Sox shortstop Mike Aviles. "And having him anchor this lineup, I think it really, really helps us. you got a guy that his sole position is to DH. He has one job, and thats to hit and he does it well. And anytime you have a guy like that, just from an offensive standpoint, he brings a lot to this team.

"And that doesnt even say what kind of teammate he is," added Aviles. "Hes arguably one of the greatest teammates Ive ever had. And so to have aguy like that around this group, I think it helps out a lot."

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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.