Mookie Betts

Does Mookie Betts have early edge on Rusney Castillo in center field?

John Tomase
March 03, 2015 - 6:38 am

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Rusney Castillo is absolutely, positively going to be the Red Sox' opening day center fielder, right? You can't bench a guy making $72.5 million, right? Not so fast. If anything caught the eye when the Red Sox posted their first lineup of the spring on Tuesday morning, it was the starting center fielder in Game 1 of the annual Northeastern-Boston College doubleheader. Batting leadoff with the rest of the Red Sox regulars was none other than Mookie Betts. Castillo, meanwhile, is slated to start the nightcap with the backups and minor leaguers. If this sounds like reading too much into a spring lineup for an exhibition against a college team, consider the rest of the players starting the NU game, alongside Betts: 2B Dustin Pedroia, DH David Ortiz, LF Hanley Ramirez, 3B Pablo Sandoval, 1B Mike Napoli, RF Shane Victorino, SS Xander Bogaerts, C Christian Vazquez. There's little doubt that eight of those guys will be in the opening day lineup next month in Philadelphia, health permitting. So why should we view Betts any differently? A case can certainly be made for Castillo opening the season in Pawtucket. There are six years remaining on his deal, and he's still only played only 50 or 60 competitive games in the last two years. Spending a little time at Triple A might actually help, and it wouldn't make him a bust. In any event, file this one, for now, under the heading of Interesting Developments.