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Rusney Castillo is Already Familiar with New MLB Rule

February 27th, 2015 at 4:05 PM
By Sean Penney

We already know that David Ortiz is unhappy with Major League Baseball's new rules that prohibit hitters from stepping out of the batter's box, but perhaps getting some insight from one of his teammates would help settle his concerns. Rusney Castillo is already familiar with this rule from his time spent playing in his native country of Cuba.

The governing body of Cuba had the same idea to help speed up the game a couple years ago, so players like Castillo that were around when the rule was implemented have already experienced the transition. While players like Ortiz are taking a stand against the new rule, Castillo assures that the adjustment wasn't actually that bad.

"The game used to be really long, but about two years ago they implemented the rule we're trying to implement, with the hitter staying in the box," Castillo explained to WEEI. "That sped the game up a bit.

"It did mess with some hitters, but for me, if I've got to do it, I've got to do it and I didn't think about all that much. It wasn't all that difficult for me, personally."

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Larry Lucchino: Boston Red Sox are Different from the New York Yankees

February 26th, 2015 at 1:14 PM
By Sean Penney

Boston Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino wants to make one thing clear – despite the massive spending spree the team has been on lately, the Red Sox are nothing like the New York Yankees.

Lucchino has repeatedly mocked the Yankees in the past for their seemingly limitless payroll budgets and reckless spending. He once famously labeled his team's most bitter rival the "Evil Empire" after the Yankees swept in and stole Cuban defector Jose Contreras right from under their noses. The Yankees have a long history of opening their checkbooks to lure in the biggest names in free agency, but now that Boston has been among the biggest spenders this winter, it has left some wondering if they are now emulating the Yankees methods.

"Boy, there are a lot of things people could get me to say, but I could never admit to that," Lucchino told reporters on Wednesday. "I could never admit to that, not in my mind, at least.

"We are different. We run our club differently. There's a commonality in our willingness to invest in sizable sums for baseball players, whether they be short-term additions or long-term development projects. So in that sense, we, like the Dodgers, the Giants – a lot of successful clubs – are willing to pay the price and write checks."

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David Ortiz Remains Motivated to Help the Boston Red Sox Win

February 25th, 2015 at 3:13 PM
By Sean Penney

David Ortiz doesn't want to think about his legacy because that would mean he's thinking about retiring. That's the furthest thing from his mind, as the 39-year old DH prepares for the upcoming season. A fired up Ortiz arrived to spring training as motivated as ever to help the Boston Red Sox win.

Ortiz is entering the final guaranteed season on his contract, which includes two option years that automatically vest based on the number of plate appearances he makes. When asked by reporters in Fort Myers how much longer he wants to play, Ortiz countered by reminding them that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was asked the same question early in the season. The Patriots of course rebounded from a slow start to capture their fourth Super Bowl championship of the Brady era. Ortiz, who has three championship rings of his own, seems eager to keep pace. His desire to catch up to Brady with a fourth title is what motivates him as his career inevitably winds down.

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A Few Questions About Yoan Moncada – Part 2

February 24th, 2015 at 2:25 PM
By Sean Penney

We're splitting our exploration of the questions surrounding the Boston Red Sox signing of Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada into two parts. Why? Because there are so many questions! Plus, let's be honest, we get more page views that way. Just as the Red Sox had to pay double the $31.5 million bonus they gave Moncada, we're looking for double the views.

If you missed Part 1 of our discussion, you can check it out here. The previous joke will make more sense once you read the details of the signing. Not promising it will make it funny, just that it will make more sense.

Now, on to more questions!

What was his production in Cuba?

Moncada has two years of professional experience in Cuba's professional league, Serie Nacional. As a 17-year old in 2012, Moncada hit .283/.414/.348 in 56 games. The following season he hit .273/.365/.406 over 45 games with his club Cienfugeos.

He has also excited scouts with his production in international tournaments with the Cuban national team. He batted .417/.563/.667 in seven games during the 16U World Championships and was named an All-Star. He then led his team in AVG, OPB and SLG (.375/.483/.542) at the 18U World Championships.

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A Few Questions About Yoan Moncada – Part 1

February 24th, 2015 at 12:27 PM
By Sean Penney

Who is Yoan Moncada? That's the question that a lot of fans are asking after the Boston Red Sox signed the highly coveted infielder with a record-setting signing bonus for an international player.

Like many players that have come over from Cuba, there are a lot of unknowns about Moncada. The level of competition he has experienced in his homeland pales in comparison to what he'll face in the United States. As was the case when the Red Sox signed Rusney Castillo last summer, the team is relying primarily on what their scouts have seen in private workouts, since Moncada hasn't played in competitive games in over a year.

Given how much the Red Sox have invested in Moncada and the hype surrounding his acquisition, there are bound to be some questions about him. We're here to try to answer some of them.

Is the Moncada signing a done deal?

Not officially. Moncada still needs to pass a physical, which is expected to be done on Wednesday. Ben Cherington has so far refused to confirm a deal until then and has only said that the team remains interested. However, Moncada's agent confirmed an agreement had been reached Monday night, so the rest is just a formality at this point. Barring unforeseen complications, Moncada will be joining the Red Sox.

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