BOSTON Third baseman Will Middlebrooks is not in the starting lineup for the first-half finale against the Yankees at Fenway Park Sunday night. Middlebrooks has missed the last six games with a sore left hamstring. With the possibility of letting him rest for an additional five days before the second half of the season opens Friday, with three games in Tampa Bay, manager Bobby Valentine is leaning toward holding Middlebrooks out of Sundays game.
He looked really good today out there running. He says he feels really good, Valentine said. Because its just one game and it could be five more days of safeness Im leaning towards not having him play.
Middlebrooks is batting .298 with 10 home runs and 37 RBI in 48 games since being called up May 2.
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.