Mookie Betts

Red Sox pregame notes: Mookie Betts, Rusney Castillo being exposed to other OF spots; Allen Craig's new role

Ryan Hannable
September 01, 2015 - 1:32 pm

With the news that Hanley Ramirez won't play the outfield again in 2015, it opens the door for the younger Red Sox outfielders to get exposure at other outfield positions as the team looks to find the best alignment possible for 2016. Mookie Betts has just played center field, so he will get some work at left and right field. Rusney Castillo has played center and right field so he will get some work in left field, while Jackie Bradley Jr. has already played all three. After sitting down with all three, it was determined the work will take place pregame until outfield coach Arnie Beyeler feels they are ready for game action. "We're going to mix and match those moving parts and until that time where we put them in the game they need to get out there with Arnie to get some work done," interim manager Torey Lovullo said. "So you're going to see Mookie getting some reps in left and right in pregame. You're going to see Rusney gets some reps in left field. Jackie obviously is very good at all three so we're going to wait for the go sign from Arnie that he feels comfortable with these guys moved in game situations into different positions. "We're going to explore that. We haven't yet clearly defined who is playing where, but once we make that decision we're going to leave those guys there. We're not going to mix and match for their entire career. We're going to try and piece together the best outfield for the Boston Red Sox in 2016." While the experimenting will take place during the final month of the year, a final determination on those players' positions likely won't come until next spring. "I think what we're going to do is we're going to get a look, put it in our minds, let us see what it looks like to make those conversations go in a good direction," Lovullo said. "Then you'll see a little bit more of it in spring training. That's the initial thought -- see a little but more of it in spring training and then once we get moving towards April of 2016 we're going to try and have that firm up and have it stay put." As for if this move means the three players won't be traded this offeason, Lovullo said that decision is above him. "That is not in my department," he said. "I do know I love those three kids out there. I feel very comfortable when they are in the outfield playing the way they are now. That's above my level determining of they available for a trade or not." OTHER RED SOX NOTES -- Allen Craig was one of the players who the Red Sox added to their roster as the rosters expanded on Sept. 1. Craig slashed .274/.368/.350 in 93 games with Triple-A Pawtucket this year. Lovullo said he discussed with Craig what his role would be. "When we talked about September call ups, we wanted to make sure those guys that were coming up were going to have a chance to play and not just come up here and sit on the bench for 30 days," Lovullo said. "Nobody wants to do that. The initial plans are to have him play a little bit of first base and spell [Travis Shaw] at times. He's our extra outfielder right now to spell one our younger players so he's going to get a few at-bats. I had a chance to explain that to him and he's ready." -- Dustin Pedroia (hamstring) is still progressing towards a return around Sept. 10. "Dustin did good today," Lovullo said. "He was out running some poles, some long distance stuff and then he got on the bases. He was sprinting to second base. We had to pull him back a little bit. He wanted to go really, really hard and aggressively and we had to pull him back and just tell him to slow play this. He's ready to go. He's ready for the next challenge each day. I know he's going to take BP and ground balls. A really good frame of mind and right where he needs to be physically."