Red Sox

Rusney Castillo wins International League Player of the Week Award

Rusney Castillo wins International League Player of the Week Award

Last week, minor league outfielder Rusney Castillo looked like the player Boston hoped he'd become when they signed him to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract in 2014. Unfortunately for the Sox, he was busy doing it in Triple-A.

In six games last week, Castillo went 15-for-23 at the plate with two home runs, and two doubles. For the second time in his Triple-A career, Castillo was named the International League Player of the Week. 

On the season, Castillo is hitting .289 with six homers and 36 RBI in 61 games. Also, according to The Boston Globe's Alex Speier, he has cut down his strikeout rate, which has been a crippling weakness for him. 

Pawtucket (30-38) sits in last place in the International League North division despite Castillo's hot bat. 

With Jackie Bradley Jr., Andrew Benintendi and Mookie Betts, the Red Sox don't have an urgent need for another outfielder, so Castillo will likely remain in Pawtucket indefinitely. 

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Chris Sale's illness-related setback a 'gut punch' to Red Sox ace

Chris Sale's illness-related setback a 'gut punch' to Red Sox ace

The Boston Red Sox need a new Opening Day starter.

Chris Sale will begin the 2020 season on the injured list as he recovers from the pneumonia he contracted earlier this month, Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke told reporters Thursday.

Sale had hoped to be ready for Opening Day as he works back from an elbow injury that shut him down last August. But the 30-year-old missed two weeks of rehab due to his pneumonia, which means his first start of 2020 will be pushed back two weeks.

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"We didn’t think four starts in Spring Training was fair to him to make him start the season," Roenicke told reporters, via WEEI's Rob Bradford. "He’ll open up on the DL. We can backdate it three days. We’ll try to figure out exactly where that puts him."

The good news is that Sale's elbow appears to be in a good place: He's set to throw to live batting practice Saturday, and if he follows Roenicke's timeline, his 2020 debut could come April 6 in Boston's home game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

But someone other than Sale will start for the Red Sox on Opening Day for the first time since 2017, which isn't sitting well with the veteran hurler.

"It was a gut punch," Sale said, per Bradford. " ... The only thing that hurts is my ego, and that doesn't matter."

" ... Do I like it? Absolutely not. Do I respect it? 100 percent."

Sale's setback also is an unfortunate development for a Red Sox rotation that already lost David Price and Rick Porcello this offseason.

Eduardo Rodriguez figures to make his first career Opening Day start in Sale's stead, while Nathan Eovaldi and Martin Perez are Boston's only other healthy starting pitchers.

The Red Sox still don't have a fifth starter, and Roenicke's club may have to operate with just three legitimate starters for the first two weeks of the season.

That's not exactly a promising scenario for a team that's already taken plenty of lumps this offseason.

Yankees' Giancarlo Stanton 'will be down for a bit' with calf injury

Yankees' Giancarlo Stanton 'will be down for a bit' with calf injury

Wednesday was another tough day on the injury front for the New York Yankees.

Manager Aaron Boone revealed slugger Giancarlo Stanton "will be down for a bit" due to a Grade 1 right calf strain. The news comes one day after it was announced right-hander Luis Severino will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the entire 2020 campaign.

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Injuries have been par for the course with Stanton ever since he first donned Yankee pinstripes in 2018. The former National League MVP has played in only 176 of 324 regular-season games with New York due to bicep, shoulder, and knee ailments.

The Yankees still boast a well-rounded roster that can survive Stanton's absence for a while, but his presence in the middle of the lineup is key to their success. If the 30-year-old indeed misses time, it could be Clint Frazier, Miguel Andujar, or Mike Tauchman taking his spot in the lineup.

New York's 2020 season begins March 26 vs. the Baltimore Orioles.