Red Sox

Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez (sore knee) has Sunday start pushed back

Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez (sore knee) has Sunday start pushed back

Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will miss his first scheduled spring training start Sunday after he felt soreness in his left knee following a fall before his live batting-practice throwing session on Wednesday.

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Rodriguez's fall came before the BP session. He will throw a live BP Monday rather than pitch against the Baltimore Orioles in a Grapefruit League game Sunday in Sarasota, Fla. Manager Ron Roenicke told reporters the Red Sox are just being cautious.

“He was going to pitch [on Sunday], he’s not going to pitch now,” Roenicke told reporters, including Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald. “This we’ve been talking to him and trying to figure out what to do. When he fell the other day, the knee got a little sore. It is not like the other knee where he had issues, this is a minor thing, at least right now it certainly is. But he’s still a little uncomfortable with it. It’s better everyday. So, what we’re going to do is push him back a day, push him back to Monday.”

Right-hander Chris Mazza, 30, claimed off waivers from the Mets in the offseason and in competition for the fifth starter's spot, will get the start Sunday. He had a 3.61 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in 17 starts at Triple-A Syracuse last season. 

Rodriguez did make a few throws on the side Saturday, as captured by our NBC Sports Boston Camera Guys:

Rodriguez missed the start of the 2018 season after offseason surgery on his right knee. He had a breakout season in 2019, going 19-6 with a 3.81 ERA in 34 starts (203.1 innings pitched).

The lefty from Venezuela turns 27 in June as has given some of the credit for his strong 2019 season to the mentorship of Hall of Famer and Red Sox legend Pedro Martinez, now a spring training instructor.

The Sox open exhibition play against major league teams (they beat Northeastern Friday, 3-0) Saturday in Fort Myers, Fla., against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Here's their lineup for the 1 p.m. game:

Andrew Benintendi LF
Jackie Bradley CF
J.D. Martinez DH
Michael Chavis 1B
Kevin Pillar RF
Jose Peraza 2B
Bobby Dalbec 3B
Tzu-Wei Lin SS
Jett Bandy C

Brian Johnson LHP

Remember Rusney Castillo? He'll make $14 million in Triple-A, then finally become a free agent

Remember Rusney Castillo? He'll make $14 million in Triple-A, then finally become a free agent

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- On an unseasonably cool Florida afternoon, Red Sox regulars scattered like mice before the start of the annual spring training exhibition vs. Northeastern.

None of them were going to play, and therefore, none had to stay, the promise of a rare afternoon off beckoning like an oasis.

So in their place, a parade of prospects, minor leaguers, and fringe performers comprised the starting nine. Some -- such as center fielder Jarren Duran -- may have a future in Boston. Others -- such as third baseman Chad De La Guerra or left fielder John Andreoli -- are household names only in their own households.

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But there, batting cleanup and playing right field, was a man with more name recognition than all of them combined, finishing his Red Sox career in a peculiar purgatory, population: one.

When the Red Sox signed Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract in 2014, he represented not only hope for the future, but redemption for the failure to sign Cuban countryman Jose Abreu a year earlier. He was supposed to hit for power, steal bases, and make plays across the outfield. The Red Sox signed him not because he possessed any particular overwhelming skill, but for his across-the-board stability.

Six years later, Castillo is cashing his final Red Sox checks, having fulfilled virtually none of that promise. He'll make $14 million this season, but he hasn't appeared in a major-league game since 2016, and he hasn't recorded a hit since his first contest of that season, when he went 2-for-4 as an April fill-in.

Despite spending more on payroll over the prior three seasons than anyone, the Red Sox simply couldn't justify Castillo's place in the majors.

Because he's not a member of the 40-man roster, his salary doesn't count for luxury tax purposes. So he has stayed in the minors, hitting better than .300 in two of the past three seasons at Triple-A Pawtucket, sharing a clubhouse with major leaguers only in spring training.

Once the Grapefruit League schedule ends, Castillo packs his cars -- including a vintage McLaren and Lamborghini -- and heads north to Pawtucket, where he plays every day with little hope of reaching Boston, no matter how much he produces.

Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke feels for the 32-year-old, who will actually become a free agent this fall, when he'll hit the market with over $70 million in earnings and only one-tenth of one season of service time.

"He's going to be a free agent at the end of the year, so I think this is a big year for him," Roenicke said. "Go out and do what you've been doing, which has been really good in Triple-A, and hopefully you find yourself in the big leagues, and not to say it won't happen this year, but if it doesn't, shoot, go out and be the same guy and maybe play a few more years. I don't know him that well, but I know they've had really good things to say about him. He's been in a tough spot, and he keeps doing a nice job for us."