BOSTON – Yoenis Cespedes is back in the Red Sox lineup for the start of the three-game series against the Mariners and right-hander Felix Hernandez. Cespedes left the game on Thursday against the Angels at Fenway Park after the third inning for what the team later said was a family medical emergency.
“The situation in which he left for last night has improved to the point of his returning and he’s in the lineup,” said manager John Farrell. “Other than that, it’s still a personal and private matter. That’s to the extent I would say anything.”
Cespedes is playing left field, batting fourth. He is 6-for-30 (.200) with one RBI against Hernandez.
• David Ortiz is also back in the lineup, after a day off on Thursday. He is hitting .324 against Hernandez, going 11-for-34 with a home runs and six RBI.
• Allen Craig, who served as the designated hitter on Thursday in Ortiz’s absence, is playing right field, batting fifth.
• Brock Holt is out of the starting lineup – just a day off, he said. Daniel Nava is leading off playing first base.
• Mike Napoli is out of the starting lineup again. He has not played since Tuesday, sidelined with back spasms. Manager John Farrell said Napoli continues to improve. He is hopeful the first baseman will be back in the lineup on Saturday.
• Will Middlebrooks is back in the starting lineup. He left Tuesday’s game after tweaking his right hamstring in the fourth inning when he beat out an infield single and sat out the next day. He entered Thursday’s season-series finale against the Angels when Cespedes left the game. Middlebrooks’ two-out double in the seventh was the Sox’ only hit in the game.
• Hernandez (13-4, 1.99 ERA) leads the American League in ERA, is fourth in strikeouts with 197, tied for fifth in wins, first in quality starts with 23, third in innings pitched with 185 1/3, and first in WHIP at 0.87.But he has not won a road start since June 2 at Yankee Stadium. In six road starts since, he is 0-2 (1.54), giving up seven earned runs over 41 innings. He did not allow more than two runs in any of those six starts, but the M’s scored just 14 total runs in those games, and just five runs while he was in the game.
After Hernandez, the Sox will face right-handers Chris Young (12-6, 3.07) and Hisashi Iwakuma (1206, 2.57).
“The three pitchers we’re facing this series combined are probably the top trio of pitchers in the league,” Farrell said. “We’ve got our hands full as far as attacking their pitching.”
• The Sox have not officially announced the signing of Rusney Castillo, the 27-year-old Cuban outfielder, to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract.
“I’m aware of the reports,” Farrell said. “There’s still some administrative things that he would have to go through before anything is announced officially.”
What were the team’s reports on Castillo?
“Above-average speed. Can play center field or right field,” Farrell said. “What kind of power? What kind of average? Obviously our scouts liked him enough. That’s a significant investment. It’s an exciting athletic player by all accounts.”
Farrell said he did not know when Castillo would be added to the major league roster.