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In a game of adjustments, Triston Casas has been struggling so far

Casas congratulates teammate Rob Refsnyder after Refsnyder's solo shot in the first inning Thursday.Steve Nesius/Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Triston Casas looks lost. Both in the field and at the plate.

The game has sped up for the 23-year-old. That’s normal for a young player such as Casas, in his first full big-league season after making his debut last September.

The Sox essentially handed Casas the keys to first base after designating Eric Hosmer for assignment during the offseason. But after going 0 for 3 with a walk in Thursday’s 9-3 loss to the Rays, Casas is batting .132 (5 for 38). He also entered Thursday a minus-2 defensive runs saved, tied for worst among first basemen.


Has there been a learning curve for the very confident Casas? He thinks so.

“Baseball is a game of random,” Casas said Thursday morning. “The same situation never really pops up twice in the same game. It’s such a rarity when it does happen, it’s almost surprising. So learning those things, and as I get more experience in the league that will definitely help me.”

Casas said pitchers are attacking him differently this year. Rarely do they double up on pitches or location. As he put it, there has been more variance in his at-bats.

Casas, known for his keen eye at the plate, has just three walks in 13 games. Thursday’s was his first since the second game of the season; it came on a 14-pitch plate appearance, and helped lead to a run.

“They’re expanding the zone at the right times and setting up different pitches with the right ones and getting me to chase,” Casas said. “They’re really executing their pitches.

“I think it’s early in the season. I’m still getting a feel for myself, for what I’m trying to accomplish at the plate.”

Will that fourth-inning walk help get Casas going? Time will tell.


“I’m just going to try to go out there and fail with the right intention,” he said. “Try to figure out a way to put the ball in play more and I know I will do it.”

Kelly goes on injured list

Righthander Zack Kelly was placed on the injured list with right elbow pain, and Kutter Crawford was recalled from Triple A Worcester. Crawford will pitch out of the bullpen after beginning the season in the rotation, making two starts.

Kelly left Wednesday night’s game in the fifth inning after hitting Yandy Díaz with a pitch. He was visibly emotional as he walked off the mound with trainer Brandon Henry and manager Alex Cora. Kelly will undergo further imaging on his elbow Friday in Boston.

Kelly was in obvious pain after hitting Tampa Bay's Yandy Diaz in the fifth inning Wednesday night.Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

Crawford had been optioned to Triple A Tuesday. Cora said the plan was to keep him stretched out with Worcester to maintain depth in the rotation in case of injury.

That has changed, but perhaps not for long. With Brayan Bello (forearm) returning soon and James Paxton (hamstring) behind Bello, the Sox will have to shift two pitchers from the rotation to the bullpen. They could then option Crawford back to Worcester, where he can resume his role as a starter.

Lots more lefties

The Red Sox open up a four-game set against the Angels at Fenway Friday evening and will face three more lefthanded starters: Patrick Sandoval (opposed by Tanner Houck Friday), Tyler Anderson (vs. Nick Pivetta Saturday), and Reid Detmers (vs. Garrett Whitlock Sunday). The streak breaks Monday, but unfortunately for them, the break is Shohei Ohtani. The Red Sox starter for Monday is still to be determined, likely either Chris Sale or Bello. If they go with Bello, Sale would pitch in Tuesday’s series opener against the Twins . . . Masataka Yoshida, who missed the last two games against Tampa with a tight hamstring, should be a go for Friday.


Julian McWilliams can be reached at Follow him @byJulianMack.