Red Sox send Castillo, Bradley to mi­nors; Betts starts in cen­ter field

The China Post - - SPORTS -

The Bos­ton Red Sox op­tioned Rus­ney Castillo and Jackie Bradley Jr. to Triple-A Paw­tucket on Thurs­day, clear­ing the way for Mookie Betts to start in cen­ter field.

With a glut of out­field­ers in spring train­ing, the Red Sox fi­nally pared down the group. They will begin the regular sea­son with Han­ley Ramirez in left field, Betts in cen­ter and Shane Vic­torino in right.

Daniel Nava and Allen Craig are likely to re­main on the ma­jor league ros­ter and can play the out­field as well.

Castillo, who signed a US$72.5 mil­lion, seven-year con­tract with Bos­ton last year af­ter de­fect­ing from Cuba, missed two weeks of spring train­ing with a sore oblique mus­cle.

Bradley, a stand­out de­fender, strug­gled at the plate last sea­son.

Betts, a touted prospect and con­verted in­fielder who made a suc­cess­ful big league de­but last year, be­gan the day bat­ting .458 in spring train­ing. He was tied for the Grapefruit League lead with 22 hits.

“I think we have a num­ber of guys who are go­ing to start the sea­son in Paw­tucket who have the chance to fin­ish in Bos­ton,” Red Sox gen­eral manager Ben Cher­ing­ton said. “Rus­ney and Jackie are two of them. Those are tough con­ver­sa­tions when you have guys who are good guys who you be­lieve in. It’s a good thing for us that they have that kind of tal­ent. We know that more than likely, over the course of this sea­son, we are go­ing to rely on those guys.”

Bos­ton manager John Far­rell said he would not be sur­prised to see Bradley or Castillo — or both — in the big leagues later this sea­son.

“Both guys have had very good springs,” Far­rell said. “With Rus­ney’s sit­u­a­tion, he came in and missed time be­cause of the oblique. But he has done ev­ery­thing we’ve asked of him, and that goes back to the day we signed him. He’s an ex­cit­ing young player.”

Bradley’s sit­u­a­tion was im­pacted when the team signed Ramirez to play left field, Far­rell said.

Bradley bat­ted .198 with one homer and 30 RBIs in 127 big leagues games last sea­son. He is a .290 ca­reer hit­ter in the mi­nors.

“What’s clearly hap­pened is our ros­ter has changed dramatically from a year ago,” Far­rell said. “I think Jackie’s done a good job of mak­ing ad­just­ments at the plate. There’s a swing he has got­ten back to, and it’s a swing he has used for most of his base­ball ca­reer. I think he has closed up some holes that he had a year ago.”

Bos­ton also re­as­signed righthander Dalier Hi­no­josa, short­stop Devin Mer­rero and catcher Matt Spring to the mi­nor leagues.

The Red Sox have 38 play­ers in camp, which in­cludes seven non­roster in­vites and catcher Chris­tian Vazquez, who had sea­son-end­ing Tommy John surgery on his right el­bow Thurs­day and was placed on the 60-day dis­abled list.

The op­er­a­tion was per­formed by Dr. James An­drews in Pen­sacola.

AP

Ly­dia Ko, of New Zealand, watches her shot on the 11th fair­way dur­ing the first round of the LPGA Tour ANA In­spi­ra­tion golf tour­na­ment at Mission Hills Coun­try Club in Ran­cho Mi­rage, Cal­i­for­nia on Thurs­day, April 2.

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