Friday's pregame notes: Rusney Castillo the latest addition to Red Sox' 'lengthened lineup'; Yoenis Cespedes returns; Mike Napoli sidelined with back spasms

August 22, 2014 - 3:42 pm
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With the rumored signing of Cuban defector and free agent Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million deal, the Red Sox made further progress towards rebuilding their lineup for 2015 and beyond.

The Red Sox addressed some of their offensive needs at the trade deadline, adding Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig to an outfield that has been one of the least productive in the majors this season. The addition of Castillo brings some more speed and possibly power to a lineup that has become much more potent since the deadline.

"[The lineup is] lengthened out, and just focusing on the guys who are in uniform today, we'€™ve added right-handed power and we'€™ve added a couple of middle-of-the-order bats," manager John Farrell said. "You could say right now we'€™re leaning a little heavy on the right-handed side, but prior to Opening Day next year there'€™s a lot of time, and I know a lot of thought will be put into how we can continue to improve this team."

With Craig healthy and Castillo having the potential to debut with the Red Sox this September, the Red Sox offense, which has been a weak spot for the club all season, has begun to take a new shape. Someone like David Ortiz has more protective in the middle of the order with the presence of Cespedes and Craig, which Farrell says can only make things tougher for opposing pitchers.

"It makes managing the lineup that much more challenging,"€ Farrell said. "You can'€™t pick one spot and look to avoid it knowing that your might have a more favorable matchup somewhere behind it. The deeper the lineup, the more productive the lineup, the more pitches you'€™re going to get regardless of an opposition'€™s attempt to pitch around a particular guy."

The Castillo signing is just another example of how the Red Sox have taken the remainder of the 2014 season to restructure their offense rather than waiting until the off-season to make moves.

"€œI think when you look around the trade deadline, this year was a unique year in that way, and to address current needs with current major league players...I haven'€™t seen a time when you are able to acquire the type of players that we have,"€ Farrell said. "The players that were made available this deadline were unique. We'€™ve been able to target those guys, and i think Ben [Cherington]'€™s assessment of what the free agent pool is going to look like is pitching oriented, so there'€™s a clear cut plan with the retooling of this roster."

OTHER RED SOX NOTES:

- Yoenis Cespedes is back in the lineup Friday after being removed from Thursday night'€™s game in the third inning due to what was called a "personal matter."

'€œThe situation in which he left for last night has improved to the point of him returning, and he'€™s in the lineup," Farrell said. "Other than that, it'€™s a personal and private matter, and that'€™s probably to the extent to which I would say anything."

- Mike Napoli, who has missed the last two games with back spasms, is not in the lineup on Friday. However, Farrell said that he projects the first baseman will be back on the field for Saturday afternoon'€™s contest.

- With the Red Sox mustering just one hit against Matt Shoemaker and the Angels on Thursday, they'€™ll have their work cut out for them against Seattle ace, Felix Hernandez, in the series opener.

"€œ[We have to] try to get him early," Farrell said. "€œHe'€™s the type of pitcher that if you let him settle into a rhythm, he'€™s going to be challenging nonetheless. The three pitchers we'€™re facing in this series [Hernandez, Chris Young and Hisashi Iwakuma] combined are the top three trio of pitchers in the league, and coming off last night'€™s performance, we'€™ve got our hands full as far as attacking their pitching."

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