The Red Sox outfield situation is one of the more interesting draft conundrums of the season to date. With Hanley Ramirez a lock to start in left field and Shane Victorino apparently penciled in as the right fielder (for some unknown reason), there appeared to be some clarity as to how the situation would play itself out, as Cuban import Rusney Castillo was expected to be the leading candidate to start in center field. This would leave fantasy baseball’s sleeper breakout du jour, Mookie Betts (the most famous “Mookie” since Mookie Wilson), on the outside looking in.
However, Castillo strained his left oblique on Tuesday and will miss at least a week of action, though there are rumors that he could miss a significantly larger chunk of time. While the injury is not expected to be too serious, obliques can be tricky, so keep an eye on Castillo’s progress. More important, it opens up an opportunity for Betts to get a head start on trying to wrest the center field job away from Castillo.
I’m sure that as spring training progresses, we will get more clarity on how Boston’s outfield situation will play out, but I believe that talent will eventually win out. Betts is too good to sit on the bench, and assuming health, Castillo should offer more upside than Shane Victorino (and Allen Craig who, despite what the Red Sox would have you think, is in fact still a member of the team). And that is not even factoring in Victorino’s inability to stay healthy himself.
When all is said and done, expect Victorino to be the odd man out when the season really gets underway. But, with Hanley’s injury history, perhaps having a surplus of outfielders is not the worst idea for a Boston team that will need all the offensive production it can get (Clay Buchholz is scheduled to be their Opening Day starter…Clay Buchholz!).
Masahiro Tanaka will most likely make his first spring training start on March 12 against the Braves. If Tanaka looks healthy this spring, he could end up being a big riser in later drafts and a value for those who have already drafted him.
After experiencing some shoulder soreness, Derek Holland looks to be back on track and could start as soon as Sunday.
Nick Castellanos appears to be ok after taking a pitch off his hand on Tuesday. Castellanos was back playing in game-action on Wednesday.
Alex Cobb will start Opening Day for the Rays. While not a surprise, it’s nice to see the young starter get some recognition, as he is one of the better young arms in baseball.
Josh Harrison left Wednesday’s game with an ankle injury. The extent of the injury is not yet known.
Aaron Sanchez had a rough first spring training outing, allowing five runs to the Pirates in 1.1 innings on Tuesday. Sanchez has electric stuff, but will need to do better if he wants to win the fifth starting spot in Toronto’s rotation
Charlie Blackmon missed Wednesday’s game with minor abdominal discomfort. This does not seem to be anything serious, but it’s worth keeping an eye on.
Mike Minor experienced tightness in his throwing shoulder on Wednesday, which will cause the left-hander to miss his scheduled outing on Sunday.
Joel Hanrahan was released by the Tigers on Wednesday. The injury-plagued right-hander will have his second Tommy John surgery on March 14.
Alex Rodriguez singled in his first spring training at-bat. It is the first time Rodriguez has swung a bat in game-action since September 25, 2013.
Joey Votto is still not ready to play his first spring training game, but Reds manager Bryan Price expects the first baseman to be ready to go in the near future.
Pat Venditte, Oakland’s “switch-pitcher,” got an out pitching right-handed and an out pitching left-handed in the A’s’ first spring training game on Tuesday.