Rusney Castillo

Red Sox notes: Rusney Castillo, Jackie Bradley headed to Pawtucket; Justin Masterson to start Game 3

Rob Bradford
April 02, 2015 - 1:34 pm

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox made it official Thursday: Rusney Castillo won't be starting the season with the big league club. The team sent down outfielders Jackie Bradley and Castillo to Triple-A Pawtucket. The Sox also announced that pitchers Dana Eveland and Dalier Hinojosa, along with shortstop Deven Marrero and catcher Matt Spring had been assigned to minor league camp. Catcher Humberto Quintero, who has an opt-out in his deal and will make $100,000 if he accepts an assignment to the minor leagues, was also told he would not be making the big league club. While the Castillo news didn't come as a total surprise, it was the most notable transaction of the camp to date. It's not every day that a 27-year-old who is scheduled to make $10.5 million this season (and more than $70 million over the next six years) won't begin the regular season on a major league roster. Still, assuming Shane Victorino got to the end of spring training in good health, this scenario was most likely considered the probable outcome by the organization. "With Rusney'€™s situation, he came, obviously he missed a little bit of time because of the oblique. But he'€™s done everything we'€™ve asked of him," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "That goes back to the day we signed him to the winter leagues (Arizona and Puerto Rico) in which he participated in, to the way he played in spring training. He'€™s an exciting young player. At this point he'€™s going to begin the season at Pawtucket." Castillo told earlier in camp that if news came down that he would start in the minor leagues it wouldn't alter his "plan," "attitude" or "perspective." It was a similar message he relayed to Farrell and general manager Ben Cherington when getting his news Thursday afternoon. "That this wasn'€™t going to deter or change who he is or how he goes about his work," said Farrell of Castillo's reaction to the news. "He'€™s a young guy that is one a mission. It doesn'€™t, in his mind, begin in fruition until that starts again in Boston. That'€™s in the near future, we just don'€™t know when." To Castillo's credit, he made the decision more interesting than anybody anticipated a few weeks ago, having missed the first half of Grapefruit League games with an oblique injury. Castillo has hit .310 with a .931 OPS and two home runs in 29 at-bats during this exhibition season. He has also played an above-averge outfield, both in regards to his range and throwing arm. But with the desire to see Castillo play everyday, and Victorino heading into the regular season without any significant physical setbacks, there was no room on a roster that will see Daniel Nava, Allen Craig and Brock Holt serve as back-ups in the outfield. "One of the things we told him in the conversation was that from the day he signed to now, he's done everything we've asked him to do," said Cherington of Castillo. "He's done everything within his control and only confirmed for us why we signed him in the first place. This is a long-term investment, a long-term proposition, and we expect it to work out very well for him and for the Red Sox. We certainly see him as a major-league player. It's just not going to be on Opening Day in 2015." Like Castillo, Bradley also opened eyes with his play this spring. Bradley has hit .378 in Grapefruit League action this spring, totaling a .906 OPS. Perhaps most notably, he cut down his strikeouts, fanning just seven times in 50 plate appearances. "I think what clearly happened is that our roster'€™s changed dramatically from a year ago. Both guys will be complimented on strong springs," Farrell said. "I think Jackie has done a good job at making adjustments at the plate. He'€™s put up a number of quality at-bats. There'€™s a swing that he'€™s gotten back to that'€™s a swing that he'€™s used for most of his baseball career, and that'€™s a line-drive approach. He'€™s used the whole field. I think he'€™s closed up some of the holes that were present a year ago. He'€™s had a strong spring, but he'€™s going to continue on to Pawtucket." Asked if he had any urge to deal off one of the outfield pieces, Cherington said, "We recognize when you have a number of guys in the mix for a certain number of spots maybe the math doesn't quite line up. We recognize that can bring some challenges but we'€™d rather have a good problem than not have enough good options. But it'€™s very early. It'€™s the beginning of April, things change quickly in this game, as we know. as I said earlier in spring, we need to get more production out of the whole team, but certainly from the outfield, compared to what we did last year. I think we'€™re in better position to do that. We just have to get into the season and see how guys are doing, see how things go." -- Farrell also announced that Justin Masterson would be making his first start in the third game of the Red Sox' series against the Phillies in Philadelphia. It is still unclear when Joe Kelly's first outing might be, with the righty scheduled to throw a minor league game at Fenway South Monday. -- It seems unlikely that David Ortiz will get any time playing first base in either of the final two spring training games despite that he will be required to man the position during the team's first series. "He gets work there and will get work there before the first day that he'€™s on the field," Farrell said. "He and I have yet to map out a specific routine or plan. He'€™s going to get work over there. But we'€™ve also seen that David can take a couple of days of groundballs in interleague play and has been more than fine at first base. I don'€™t see that changing. He'€™s not playing there [Thursday night]."