Ready and Willing

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Ready and Willing

While everyone in Boston or those of us with a soul at least are a little sentimental over the departure of Kevin Youkilis, we have no choice but to turn the page and move on to the reality of the Red Sox situation.

It's a little scary; sort of a departure from what we've grown accustomed to in this era of superstars and big spending. But at the same time, it's a good scary; an eager scary. Like jumping out of a plane, or bungee jumping or streaking the field at Fenway.

Plus, it's a scenario that we've all spent the last two months begging for. We can't turn back now. The new era is upon us and the only thing to do is embrace it.

Will Middlebrooks 23 years old 51 career games 144 career at-bats.

No longer the third baseman of the future, but the third baseman of the now. The guy the Sox will count on every single day, after only a small body of work and with little to no insurance on the back end.

It's like that cheesy cliche where the dad's teaching his kid how to ride a bike, running along side and holding onto the back while the little bugger pedals away. There comes a point where Pops knows all he can do is trust his own judgement and his child's ability, let go and hope for the best.

Yesterday afternoon, the Sox finally let go. Or more accurately, they finally found someone who would take Kevin Youkilis and allow them to let go. But either way, Middlebrooks is off. The keys to the corner are in his hands. And should be fun to watch him navigate the roads.

Personally, I'm not too worried. It was one thing for Middlebrooks to come up after Youk's injury and run off a little hot streak. But after what he went through these past few weeks? To never be quite sure when he'd be in the line-up To have to deal with being at the center of the back and forth between Youk and the Sox To be smack dab in the middle of the never ending controversy about toxicity and playermanagerownership dynamics

And to still be hitting .326 with a .946 OPS?

That's a nice. That's a nice, indeed.

With Middlebrooks, the future is finally now. And I can't wait to watch it unfold.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

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.