Red Sox could do a lot worse than Pena

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Red Sox could do a lot worse than Pena

This year's Red Sox managerial search is officially underway, albeit (thankfully) with much less fanfare than the 2011 fiasco.

According to reports, Tony Pena was interviewed today, Brad Ausmus will be in tomorrow and DeMarlo Hale is scheduled for Thursday. Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach was in town last Friday.

Other than those four, Tigers third base coach Gene Lamont is said to be interested in the job, there's obviously the on-going John Farrell storyline, and I still haven't ruled out Larry Lucchino naming himself manager and running the Sox like Monty Burns did the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant softball team: Alright you ragtag bunch of misfits, you hate me and I hate you even more. But without my beloved ringers, you're all I've got. So I, uh, want you to remember some inspiring things that someone else may have told you in the course of your lives, and go out there and win!
In all seriousness, though: I'm intrigued by the possibility of Pena. Unlike Hale, Wallach and Ausmus, Tony would come to town with experience as a Major League manager, and even though things didn't end well for him in Kansas City, he's still responsible for leading the Royals to their only winning season since 1993 (2003, when he won the AL Manager of the Year award). I also like Pena's laid back attitude, his ability to relate to Latin players and his previous experience as a Red Sox player, as opposed to just a Red Sox coach. I like that since leaving KC, he's worked and learned in a winning atmosphere in the Bronx. I like that, even though he's no spring chicken, Pea is only 55 and has plenty of energy to attack the job and potentially be looked at as a long-term option.

And it doesn't hurt that he was emblazoned on one of my favorite t-shirts in Boston sports history: THE KILLER B'S OF BOSTON, along with Wade Boggs, Mike Boddicker, Ellis Burks and Tom Brunansky (Pena was "The Backstop").

In a perfect world, John Farrell is still my choice to take over the job, but if those negotiations hit a snag, you can do a lot worse than Tony Pena.

Tony Pena Sr., at least.

Junior still hasn't quite hasn't figured things out.

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.