Boston Red Sox Option Rusney Castillo, Jackie Bradley to Triple-A Pawtucket


With the regular season quickly approaching, the Boston Red Sox have further trimmed their spring roster by optioning outfielders Rusney Castillo and Jackie Bradley to Triple-A Pawtucket.

You won’t find many players in the minor leagues with $72.5 million contracts, but the logjam in the outfield has left the Red Sox without room for Castillo. General manager Ben Cherington insightfully pointed out that the team’s outfield depth is a good problem to have, while reiterating that Castillo has done everything the team has asked him to do.

"“This is a long-term investment,” Cherington said of Castillo. “This is a long-term proposition. We certainly see him as a major league player.”"

Castillo has had a productive spring, hitting .310 with a pair of home runs and four extra-base hits in 29 at-bats. The lack of plate appearances is one factor that kept him off the major league roster, as a strained oblique cost him a significant portion of spring training. The time he missed allowed Mookie Betts to soar past him in the competition for the starting center field job.

Given that Castillo only has a combined 138 at-bats between last season, winter ball and spring training, a little time in Triple-A could be good for him.

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When they open the season in Pawtucket, Castillo and Bradley are expected to split time between center and right field. Bradley’s struggles at the plate last season made him a long shot to break camp with the big league team, but a strong spring fueled by improved plate discipline will keep him on the radar if he continues to flourish into the season.

The demotion of the young outfielders assures Shane Victorino of a starting role in right field, which is what manager John Farrell has claimed from the start would happen. Victorino recently told’s Gordon Edes that he is appreciative of his manager having his back when others had their doubts that the veteran was the best option for the job. Victorino is a prideful player that believes an injury plagued season a year ago shouldn’t cost him his starting spot as long as he’s healthy now, and he’s grateful that his manager agrees.

"“The biggest focus for me has been to be healthy, to show that I can progressively go in the right direction,” said Victorino. “I don’t care if I hit .500 in spring training or a buck eighty or no hits. At the end of the day, if I’m healthy I feel like I should be the guy.”"

Victorino understands that if he falters or if his body betrays him, the Red Sox have plenty of options eager to take his place. The 34-year old is entering the last year of his contract and those young guys are the future of the franchise. That’s a part of baseball, which he accepts. What he wants the rest of us to accept is that he’s still here on this team, he’s healthy and if anyone wants his job, they’ll have to take it from him.

The Red Sox made some additional moves, reassigning right-handed pitcher Dalier Hinojosa, shortstop Deven Marrero and catcher Matt Spring to minor league camp.

With these moves, the Red Sox now have 38 players in big league camp, including 30 active players from the 40-man roster, 7 non-roster invitees and 1 player on the disabled list.

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