Signs point to Sveum as Red Sox front-runner

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Signs point to Sveum as Red Sox front-runner

MILWAUKEE -- The more Ben Cherington speaks, the more it appears Dale Sveum is the favorite to become the next manager of the Red Sox.

Sveum will meet with Cherington, owners Tom Werner and John Henry, and CEO Larry Lucchino Wednesday afternoon as part of his second interview with the organization.

Cherington said the Sox "expect there will be" a second interview for another candidate, but revealed the Sox have yet to settle on who that will be.

"We're still narrowing in on another finalist," said Cherington. "At least one another finalist. It's a combination of (identifying the second candidate) and the logistics (of setting up a meeting)."

The very fact that Sveum is being introduced to the owners before the team can settle on another finalist marks him as the front-runner for the position.

One complication could be a similar feeling by the Chicago Cubs toward Sveum. Sveum interviewed last week with Chicago. It's not known if he'll have a formal second interview with the Cubs when he's in town Wednesday, but it is known that Sveum is still in the running with the Cubs.

"It is a factor," acknowledged Cherington of the Cubs' parallel search, "because a lot of the candidates are similar. As I've said before, we're going to have a manager; the Cubs are going to have a manager. I'm not sure the same person is the right person for both jobs.

"We don't have the field to ourselves, so that's a factor and it effects timing more than anything. But I do think the jobs are different."

Henry, who arrived Tuesday night for the start of owners' meetings Wednesday, said he was eager to get to know Sveum better.

"I never really spent a lot of time with Dale (when he was the Red Sox' third-base coach in 2004-05)," said Henry, "so I'm looking forward to it."

Asked about a timetable for hiring a manager and the possibility of wrangling with the Cubs for their first choice, Henry said: "It's not so much about the timing. It's about getting the right man."

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.