Xander Bogaerts

Xander Bogaerts

The Red Sox are looking for a spark offensively as they come into their weekend series with the Angels averaging only 2.32 runs per game in 19 games during the month of May.

Looking to create one, the team has called up outfielder Rusney Castillo, who will play right field and bat eighth. They also moved Xander Bogaerts out of the No. 8 spot in the order up to No. 5.

Pablo Sandoval remains out because of his knee after being hit by a pitch Tuesday and Brock Holt will once again play third base, as the Red Sox go against Angels left-hander Garrett Richards. As a team the Red Sox are batting .198 against left-handed pitching this year.

Blake Swihart will catch Red Sox starter Rick Porcello.

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here. For a series preview, click here.

Here’s the complete Red Sox lineup:

Mookie Betts, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Hanley Ramirez, LF
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Mike Napoli, 1B
Brock Holt, 3B
Rusney Castillo, RF
Blake Swihart, C
Rick Porcello, RHP

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

On Thursday the Red Sox were hopeful to get both Pablo Sandoval and Shane Victorino back Friday, but unfortunately for them, both remain out of the lineup.

On Thursday the Red Sox were hopeful to get both Pablo Sandoval and Shane Victorino back Friday, but unfortunately for them, both remain out of the lineup.

After being a late scratch with “general soreness” mostly in the left calf Thursday, Victorino remains out of the lineup Friday. He went 2-for-2 as a pinch-hitter Tuesday.

“He’s day-to-day, that’s the best I can tell you right now,” manager John Farrell said.

“We don’t anticipate this being a long-term situation,” Farrell added. “Hopefully he’s back to us soon because he was swinging the bat well.”

Also on Friday the Red Sox added outfielder Rusney Castillo and sent down Jackie Bradley. Even prior to the injury this week, Farrell said he sat down with Victorino to explain he would now be at least partially sharing right field with Castillo as well as Daniel Nava and Brock Holt.

“There’s a scenario that I have already sat and met with [Victorino] prior to the calf injury with Rusney’s arrival there was going to be a rotation with Rusney between both right field and center field,” said Farrell. “That wasn’t going to put [Victorino] on the bench by any means. When [Victorino] is fully capable that will take place, that rotation.”

Sandoval (knee) was expected back at third base Friday, but after pregame work taking ground balls, running, etc. it was determined he would miss his third straight game after being hit by a pitch in the knee Tuesday night.

“He doesn’t feel like he’s ready to go,” said Farrell. “There’s limitation to the range, there’s limitation to him being able to plant that left leg to execute a strong throw. Baserunning was going to be limited. All that added up to him needing more time.”

Brock Holt will take the place of Sandoval once again at third.

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

On Friday the Red Sox recalled outfielder Rusney Castillo from Triple-A Pawtucket, and optioned back Jackie Bradley.

Ben Cherington

Ben Cherington

On Friday the Red Sox recalled outfielder Rusney Castillo from Triple-A Pawtucket, and optioned back Jackie Bradley.

Castillo started the season with Triple-A Pawtucket, and suffered a shoulder injury the first weekend of the season. He got back with Pawtucket April 29 and started 0-for-11, but over his last 10 games there he was hitting .302 with two homers and seven RBIs, with hits in his last four games, including two, three-hit games.

After a few days of paternity leave earlier in the week, the outfielder returned to play for Pawtucket Thursday night before being promoted Friday.

“I think when we came out of spring training, we really felt like everything that he had done to that point, including last year, but also, spring training, had just confirmed for us the reasons why we signed him in the first place and that was because we felt and still feel that he is going to be a very good major league player and help us,” general manager Ben Cherington said to WEEI.com prior to Friday’s game.

“At the end of spring training we made a decision to give some other guys some opportunity first and then there was sort of a side benefit that it was going to allow him to go and play every day professionally — it was the one thing he hadn’t done yet because of his circumstance last year. And then he got hurt and missed two weeks, whatever it was, so that was a little bit of a speed bump. We had to get him back and get him back playing. Then he had a baby, so he missed a couple of days this week.

“We’ve always felt he’s a major league player and capable of helping us. We wanted to get him on some kind of roll, comfortable, get his timing and all that stuff. Hopefully that has mostly happened in Pawtucket and no he’s here. We’re trying to create the deepest lineup we can with the guys we have on a given night and we felt like he could be part of that. Now it’s up to John [Farrell] and how he is going to write the lineups out with these guys. I am sure he will get a chance to play, as I am sure other guys will play. He brings a lot — he can play defense, he can run, he has power. Hopefully he’s another piece to hopefully extending our lineup a little bit and building a deep lineup and make things a little tougher on the pitcher.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Rusney Castillo wants Red Sox fans to understand one thing: he’s no savior.

Rusney Castillo

Rusney Castillo

Rusney Castillo wants Red Sox fans to understand one thing: he’s no savior.

The Cuban outfielder who signed a $72.5 million contract last summer was summoned to make his 2015 debut for the Red Sox on Friday night. He’ll start in right field and bat eighth as the Sox open a three-game series against the Angels.

With the offense floundering and the team’s right field production the worst in baseball (.496 OPS), Castillo will be given a chance to give the team a spark.

“It’s obviously something you’ve heard about, but it’s not really something I’ve keyed in on or thought about too much,” Castillo said through translator Adrian Lorenzo before the game. “I’ve tried to stay in my lane and continue with my preparation. Obviously, you see the offense has been struggling a little bit, but in terms of being a savior, that’s definitely not what I’m thinking about.”

Castillo hit .293 with a pair of homers in 18 games at Triple-A Pawtucket. He also stole six bases and compiled a .781 OPS. To make room for him on the roster, the Red Sox demoted outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.

“Obviously, I’m very excited, but right now it’s just important to keep in mind the job at hand and try to keep the same momentum I had at Triple A,” Castillo said. “Hopefully just to add the same kind of energy I was bringing in Triple A.”

This has been a good week for Castillo, who celebrated the birth of a daughter, Maria, before getting called to Fenway.

“Obviously it’s been very hectic, but very exciting,” Castillo said. “I’m very blessed that my wife gave birth to my daughter the last couple of days. I feel blessed that it’s all coming together at the same time, me coming up here, and thankfully everything went all right with her. It’s been hectic, but in a very positive way.”

Castillo, who battled an oblique injury in spring training and an ankle sprain at Triple-A, declared himself 100 percent healthy.

“To me, I’m 100 percent, mentally and physically,” he said. “I thought I did a good job in Triple A of trying to get to that place. I feel good about where I’m at.”

Blog Author: 
John Tomase
Mike Trout (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Mike Trout heads to Fenway hitting .295/.394/.564 with 11 home runs and 22 RBIs. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

After hosting the Rangers at Fenway, the Red Sox wrap up a six-game homestand with a series against the Angels this weekend. The Sox have gone 5-5 in their last 10 games and lost the series to the Rangers. While the Red Sox starters have started to improve recently, the offense has continued to sputter.

In their past nine games, the Red Sox have scored more than two runs only once. The Sox sit at 19-22, in fourth place in the AL East. They are 3 1/2 games behind the first-place Rays.

Meanwhile, the Angels are second in the AL West, sitting 5 1/2 games behind the surprise Astros. Los Angeles has a 21-20 record after winning seven of its last 10 games.

The Angels lost Thursday night by an 8-4 score to the Blue Jays but won the series by way of victories in the first two games.

While the Red Sox offense certainly hasn’t been good as of late, it has produced more runs than the Angels. The Angels have scored just 151 runs, ranking 14th in the American League and 27th in the majors. The team batting average of .233 is the third worst in baseball.

The team’€™s pitching has allowed the Angels to get above .500 despite such an anemic offense. The pitching staff has a 3.57 ERA overall, good for fourth in the American League. With a .232 batting average against, the Angels rank third in the majors. The Red Sox, meanwhile, have a .259 batting average against, ranking 21st in baseball. On the season, the Angels have allowed one more run than they have scored, as they have played lots of close games.

“It’s better to win them than lose them, but we’re playing an incredible amount of one- and two-run games and holding our own,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of his team’s performance in close games. “It points to the job our starting pitchers have done keeping us in games while pitching with their backs against the wall, and what Joe Smith and Huston Street have done.”

The Angels offense, however inefficient thus far, is led by megastar center fielder Mike Trout. Trout is hitting .295/.394/.564 with 11 home runs and 22 RBIs. That puts him third in the AL in homers and fifth in OPS. David Freese, however, is the team leader in RBIs with 25.

Here are the pitching matchups for the series:

Rick Porcello (4-2, 4.26 ERA) vs. Garrett Richards (3-2, 2.29 ERA)
Steven Wright (1-1, 4.02 ERA) vs. C.J. Wilson (2-2, 3.06 ERA)
Wade Miley (3-4, 5.10 ERA) vs. Hector Santiago (3-2, 2.25 ERA)

WHO’€™S HOT: RED SOX

— €”After starting the season somewhat slowly, David Ortiz has started to round into form recently. In his past five games Ortiz is hitting .389 with two home runs and four RBIs. Over those five games, he has a whopping 1.300 OPS.

— €”Shortstop Xander Bogaerts has also begun to improve at the plate. Over his past six games, the 22-year-old has hit .368 with a double, triple, home run and two RBIs.

— €”Like the rest of his peers in the Red Sox rotation, Clay Buchholz has performed admirably recently. Over Buchholz’€™s past two starts, he has thrown 15 1/3 innings and allowed just three earned runs. That amounts to a 1.76 ERA to go along with 15 strikeouts over those two games. However, Buchholz hasn’t gotten the support of the Red Sox offense, as he received a loss and no-decision in those two outings.

David Freese

David Freese

WHO’€™S HOT: ANGELS

— David Freese has been playing well in the past week. Freese has a slash line of .308/.296/.692 in the past seven days, hitting three home runs and driving in six.

— €”In his last seven games, Mike Trout is hitting .321 with two home runs and three RBIs. He has scored six runs and has a .959 OPS in that span.

— Richards has been pitching very well of late, going 7 2/3 innings while allowing just two runs in his last start against Baltimore. Richards has allowed only one or two runs in each of his starts dating back to April 19.

WHO’€™S NOT: RED SOX

— Left fielder Hanley Ramirez started the season on fire, jumping quickly to 10 home runs and 22 RBIs. Since the beginning of May he has cooled off considerably. In 61 at-bats in May, Ramirez has yet to record a single RBI. Over the past six days, he has hit .148.

— Unfortunately for the Red Sox, Ramirez is only one of many hitters to hit a recent slump. Pablo Sandoval took a pitch to the knee that kept him out of the lineup Wednesday and Thursday. Before that, he was hitting only .133 in his past five games.

— Utility player Brock Holt, not unlike Ramirez, started the season off on a tear. His average, however, has declined. In 13 games in May, Holt has only one RBI and a .158 average. Holt was hitting a ridiculous .457 on April 26 but has since fallen to .280.

Johnny Giavotella

Johnny Giavotella

WHO’€™S NOT: ANGELS

— €”Over the last week, second baseman Johnny Giavotella is hitting 3-for-22 (a .136 average) with five strikeouts. The slump has brought his average down to .258 on the season.

— Kole Calhoun also has not hit very well recently, going 5-for-26 over his past seven games while striking out five times.

— In 35 games this season, Matt Joyce is hitting just .150 with 29 strikeouts in 113 at-bats. Joyce has just one home run and 11 RBIs and holds an offensive WAR of -1.1.

Blog Author: 
Josh Slavin
Rick Porcello

Rick Porcello

After a three-game series with the Rangers, the Red Sox begin another three-game set Friday at Fenway against the Angels. Boston will send Rick Porcello to the mound in the opener, opposing Garrett Richards.

Porcello enters the game with a 4-2 record, having won his last three decisions. Porcello’€™s 4.26 ERA is the lowest among qualified Red Sox starters, which helps to demonstrate the general mediocrity of the Sox staff thus far.

However, like the Red Sox pitching staff as a whole, Porcello has shown promise as of late. His most recent outing came Saturday against the Mariners and their ace, Felix Hernandez. Porcello went 6 2/3 innings, allowing five hits and two runs while striking out six. Porcello outdueled King Felix, and the Red Sox got the win by a margin of 4-2.

“I feel good,” Porcello said following the win. “I feel like I have a good fastball. It changes throughout the course of the season, from year to year. Some years you’ve got more behind it, and this year I feel that way, so we’re using the fastball more.”

The 27-year-old righty has allowed no more than three runs in his past four starts. That span has seen him concede just six runs in 25 2/3 innings combined, earning a 2.10 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. The Red Sox have won each of Porcello’€™s last five starts.

Porcello has not fared particularly well in the past against the Angels. In 11 career starts against them, he is 4-4 with a 6.52 ERA.

Garrett Richards

Garrett Richards

Richards, a right-hander, is 3-2 with a 2.29 ERA this season.

Richards was one of the best pitchers in the American League for the better part of last season before injuring his knee in August and missing the end of the year. Richards’€™ rehab continued into this season, so he didn’t make his first start until April 19, and has made only six thus far.

In those six appearances, though, Richards has continued to impress. In his last start, Richards pitched 7 2/3 innings, allowing just two runs on five hits, although he took the loss against Baltimore.

“I felt good,” Richards said after the game. “I felt like I got better as the game went on, attacking the zone, trying to work ahead, keep guys off balance.”

In five starts dating to April 24, Richards has been nearly unhittable. In 34 1/3 total innings, he has tallied a 1.83 ERA and 8.39 strikeouts per nine innings to go along with a .157 batting average against.

In six career appearances against the Red Sox (two starts and four relief outings), Richards has a 5.40 ERA and has not recorded a decision.

Angels vs. Porcello (RHP)

Erick Aybar (27 plate appearances): .208 AVG/.296 OBP/.250 SLG, 1 double, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts

Mike Trout (17): .333/.412/.533, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts

Matthew Joyce (16): .143/.250/.357, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts

Albert Pujols (13): .308/.308/.462, 2 doubles, 2 RBIs, 1 strikeout

David Freese (8): .125/.125/.125, 2 strikeouts

Johnny Giavotella (8): .250/.250/.375, 1 double, 2 RBIs, 1 strikeout

Chris Iannetta (7): .429/.429/.429, 1 RBI

Kole Calhoun is 1-for-3 in his career against Porcello.

Collin Cowgill is 1-for-3 with a strikeout against Porcello.

Mark Krauss is 1-for-2 with a double and walk in three plate appearances against Porcello.

C.J. Cron, Taylor Featherson and Carlos Perez have not faced Porcello.

Red Sox vs. Richards (RHP)

Mike Napoli (10): .571/.700/1.143, 1 HR, 1 double, 3 RBIs, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts

Dustin Pedroia (7): .333/.429/.333, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Daniel Nava (6): .333/.333/.333

David Ortiz (6): .400/.500/.600, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Brock Holt is 0-for-6 with two strikeouts is six plate appearances against Richards.

Xander Bogaerts is 0-for-2 with a walk and RBI in four plate appearances against Richards.

Hanley Ramirez is 1-for-4 against Richards.

Mookie Betts is 0-for-1 against Richards.

Shane Victorino struck out in his only at-bat against Richards.

Jackie Bradley Jr., Sandy Leon, Pablo Sandoval and Blake Swihart have not faced Richards.

Blog Author: 
Josh Slavin

A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Thursday, May 21:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (23-19): L, 6-5, 10 innings, at Louisville (Reds)

Rusney Castillo

Rusney Castillo

— Rusney Castillo was back in the lineup after his paternity leave, batting second and playing in center field for his first action since Sunday. Castillo was 1-for-6 in his return with a smashed RBI double past third base in the third inning. Castillo struck out twice and grounded out twice, while also reaching on an error on a slow bouncer to shortstop. Baseball America’s No. 3 prospect in the Red Sox system and No. 21 overall in baseball, Castillo saw his average drop to .293. He was on a 7-for-16 stretch with two home runs, a double and four RBIs in the weekend before his leave.

— Allen Craig had a 3-for-4 night including a double and two walks as he hit from the three-hole in the lineup. Craig’s opposite-field single in the third inning tied the game at 2. Since being optioned from Boston and joining the PawSox on May 12, Craig has played in eight out of 10 games and gone 11-for-36 (.306) with three doubles, three walks, two runs and seven strikeouts. He played left field with Pawtucket for the first time Thursday after appearing twice in right, twice at first base and three times as the DH.

— Third baseman Garin Cecchini went 3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored to raise his average to .200. It was only Cecchini’s third multi-hit game in his last 25 contests with Pawtucket and his first three-hit game of the season. Selected by the Red Sox in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, the 24-year-old entered the season as the Red Sox’ No 3 prospect at MLB.com and No. 10 at Baseball America. Cecchini’s strikeout numbers are up this season and his walk totals down, as he is on pace for 38 more K’s and 14 fewer walks (projected to the 114 games he played in Triple-A last year).

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (17-23): W, 4-1, vs. Altoona (Pirates)

Joe Gunkel

Joe Gunkel

— Joe Gunkel earned his first Double-A win in his first start at that level as he went 5 IP, 6H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 6 SO (92 pitches, 59 strikes). The 6-foot-5, 23-year-old right-hander was ranked as the No. 26 prospect in the Red Sox system entering the season. He was an 18th-round pick of the Sox in the 2013 draft and was promoted from High-A Salem on May 15. Gunkel has split time between starting and the bullpen both this and last year, now moving into Portland’s rotation (27-year-old Mike McCarthy moved from the rotation to the bullpen).

— Tim Roberson continued his torrid week at the plate (he had gone 11-for-24, a .458 clip, with eight RBIs in his last five games including hitting for the cycle Friday night) going 2-for-3 with a double as the DH to raise his average to .365 in 13 games with Portland. It is Roberson’s fifth year in the Red Sox system but first action at the Double-A level. In 2014 Roberson finally played a full season’s worth of games, primarily as a first baseman, combining with Low-A Greenville and High-A Salem to hit .231 with 10 HR and 26 doubles. The 25-year-old hit 40 HR in his college career at Florida Gulf Coast (’08-11).

— Former top Sox prospect Oscar Tejeda kept on rolling as his RBI single in the first inning got Portland started and extended Tejeda’s hitting streak to nine games. Tejeda, the reigning Eastern League Player of the Week, entered the night with 10 doubles for the month, tied for most in the minors. His RBI gave him 15 knocks in his last 14 contests. Tejeda was promoted to Double-A on April 19 from High-A Salem, but he has appeared in Eastern League action each of the last four seasons with Portland, Altoona and Harrisburg.

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (20-21): L, 10-4, vs. Lynchburg (Indians)

Kevin McAvoy

Kevin McAvoy

— It was a tough night for Salem starter Kevin McAvoy as he allowed six earned runs, four hits and four walks in just 2 2/3 innings. The 21-year-old McAvoy (3-3) was coming off a start where he had allowed just one walk and one hit over seven shutout innings. The Bryant alum had his ERA rise from 2.04 to 3.19. Earlier in the season, walks had also been an issue with McAvoy as he’d given 20 free passes in his first five starts (26 2/3 IP). McAvoy was the Red Sox’ fourth-round selection in last year’s draft.

— Reliever Taylor Grover had an impressive bullpen outing to put out McAvoy’s fire, as the 6-foot-3 right-hander pitched 4 1/3 scoreless to go along with seven strikeouts. Grover, a 10th-round draft pick of the Sox in 2013, had good K totals last year as he racked up 62 in 58 IP between Low-A and High-A in 2014. It was a bounce back from what became a disastrous first career minor league start for Grover, as last Sunday he gave up 10 ER in just 3 1/3 innings.

— Wendell Rijo extended his hitting streak to seven games, as the 19-year-old, 5-foot-11 second baseman is on a 9-for-26 (.346) stretch. Rijo has played in only 25 of Salem’s 40 games this year but still is second in the Carolina League in doubles with 13. Before the season ESPN’s Keith Law described Rijo as “a really smart player with average to slightly above-average tools, probably a utility guy but with a chance to be a regular.”

SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (24-16): W, 8-0, vs. Charleston (Yankees)

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

— Yoan Moncada’s debut week continued with his fourth appearance in Greenville, a 1-for-3 night as well as getting back in the field at second base after a night as the DH. The 19-year-old Cuban is off to a 5-for-15 start in Low-A with four runs and two RBIs. The switch-hitter has three hits off lefties and two vs. righties.

— Another 19-year-old in Greenville had the big hit of the night, as Panamanian shortstop Javier Guerra hit a bases-clearing triple in the eighth inning to put the game away. Guerra is hitting .300 in 31 games with a .371 on-base percentage and .509 slugging. Fifteen of his 33 hits have gone for extra bases. Guerra reportedly has played an excellent shortstop as well; he was signed out of Panama in 2012 at age 16 largely on the promise of his defensive ability, athleticism and feel for the game.

— Jordan Procyshen continued his surge at the plate, going 2-for-5 with a double and two RBIs. Procyshen has had multi-hit games in five of his last eight outings, and has raised his batting average 111 points since April 24. The Canadian backstop, who hit in the cleanup spot in the order, is 10th in the Carolina League in OBP at .383. With the .323 hitting Rafael Devers (Boston’s No. 6 prospect at Baseball America) hitting third, Greenville has quite a potent heart of the order in place.

Blog Author: 
Ken Laird