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Red Sox vs. Pirates: Rusney Castillo starts in center

The Red Sox will have Rusney Castillo in center for the first time Wednesday night

The Red Sox will ease Rusney Castillo into the starting lineup, batting him seventh as he starts in center against Francisco Liriano and the Pirates.

Today's Lineups

Mookie Betts - 2B Josh Harrison - 3B
Xander Bogaerts - SS Gregory Polanco - RF
Yoenis Cespedes - LF Andrew McCutchen - CF
Mike Napoli - 1B Neil Walker - 2B
Allen Craig - RF Russell Martin - C
Will Middlebrooks - 3B Starling Marte - LF
Rusney Castillo - CF Ike Davis - 1B
Christian Vazquez - C Clint Barmes - SS
Clay Buchholz - RHP Francisco Liriano - LHP

There's no need to rush Castillo into the leadoff position he may well hold for the Red Sox down the line. Whether first, second, or fifth, the Red Sox certainly expect he'll be good enough to warrant batting ahead of the likes of Will Middlebrooks somewhere down the line, but for now, Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts are working well as a 1-2 combo, and keeping him seventh means he at least won't be getting intentional walks ahead of the pitcher.

Speaking of the pitcher, one hopes Clay Buchholz will be leaving the bat firmly on his shoulder tonight. His return to form has been a big positive for the Red Sox these past few weeks, and seeing that go wrong because the National League decided he should be swinging a bat would be just about the most frustrating thing that could happen this late in a lost season.

First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. ET with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.