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Red Sox vs. Pirates: Rusney Castillo returns to starting lineup

Rusney Castillo is ready to make his first official start of spring as the Red Sox take on the Pirates.

Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Rusney Castillo made his return to game action Friday, going deep in his only at bat against the Orioles. Today, he's back in the starting lineup, but playing with the backups as the Red Sox hit the road against the Pirates.

Boston Red Sox (9-8)

  1. Rusney Castillo, CF
  2. Daniel Nava, 1B
  3. Allen Craig, LF
  4. Garin Cecchini, DH
  5. Jemile Weeks, 3B
  6. Humberto Quintero, C
  7. Jackie Bradley Jr., RF
  8. Deven Marrero, SS
  9. Jeff Bianchi, 2B

Starting Pitcher -- Wade Miley

There's some interesting stuff going on here in terms of positions. Daniel Nava and Allen Craig have been flipped at first base and left field, driving home the uncomfortable redundancy issue between the two. Rusney Castillo starting in center field over Jackie Bradley Jr. is also kind of interesting. Mookie Betts has been starting almost exclusively in center so far this spring, and will likely do so on Opening Day. There's little question that Betts is going to start the year in Boston and own a place in the lineup until John Farrell is given a reason to change that.

With that in mind, Rusney Castillo's road to a starting job would likely come in right field, whereas if he starts the season in the minors, chances are he would play center for Pawtucket. Bradley, on the other hand, would be the defensive-minded backup in Boston, where he would be expected to cover mostly right field given that Shane Victorino is the player most likely to need days off.

Honestly, in wake of the injury to Castillo that cost him the first half of his season, his chances of starting the year in Boston seem pretty low at this point. This is just one small positional choice from John Farrell, but it points in the same direction as just about everything else at this point: Shane Victorino in right, Rusney Castillo in Pawtucket.

First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. ET with a live broadcast on NESN and a delayed one on the MLB Network. WEEI has the radio call, to boot. It's almost like a regular season game!