With Rangers reliever Sam Freeman’s fastball speeding toward his left knee cap at 94 miles per hour, there weren’t many options for Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval.
“I tried to get out, but it’s right there,” he said. “So if you have to take it, you have to take it.”
The seventh-inning pitch caught Sandoval squarely in the knee, sending him to the ground and forcing him to leave what turned out be a 4-3 Red Sox win.
Sandoval was examined and manager John Farrell said everything was clear, but the Sox won’t know if Sandoval will be able to play Wednesday until he arrives at the ballpark.
“He’s sore,” Farrell said. “You take mid-90s off the knee, it’s going to be a little sore. But there’s no [issues] structurally. He’s already had scans, everything’s clean as far as that go. Likely he’s going to be sore, we’ll check him when he comes in.”
Sandoval, who came into the night 0 for his last 7, was 1 for 3.
“You have to keep your head up and keep working hard for tomorrow, feeling better, and I’ll try to be out there on the field,” Sandoval said.
Castillo may get call
While the Pawtucket Red Sox set out to Indianapolis on Monday for a three-game series, Rusney Castillo stayed behind with his wife as she gave birth to their first child.
But with Castillo getting into a rhythm at the plate and the Red Sox lineup struggling, Farrell opened the door for the possibility that the 27-year-old outfielder could join the major league team in the near future.
“What’s taking place is his timing and his ability to impact a baseball is starting to show up a little bit more,” Farrell said before Tuesday’s game with the Rangers. “He’s returned home, obviously, with the birth of his child.
“That’s going to be a couple days, whether or not we allow him to get a game under his belt at Pawtucket before possibly looking at a change here . . . those are all possibilities.”
After paying $72.5 million to sign Castillo out of Cuba and letting him test the waters in 10 major league games a year ago, the Sox have been patient in regard to bringing Castillo up this season, giving him time at Triple A.
But Castillo is coming off a four-game stretch over the weekend against the Columbus Clippers in which he went 7 for 19 with two homers and five RBIs.
In 17 games with the PawSox on the season, Castillo has hit .304 with two homers, four doubles, and nine RBIs with six multihit games. A shoulder injury in April kept him out of the lineup for two weeks, but since then he’s made strides at the plate.
With Mookie Betts, Hanley Ramirez, Shane Victorino, Brock Holt, and Jackie Bradley Jr., the Sox outfield is already crowded.
But for an offense hitting .230 enetering Tuesday (27th in the league), Farrell acknowledged Castillo could offer a boost.
“It’s good to see him get back on the field,” Farrell said. “The timing’s there, the ability to impact the baseball. So I guess, in the short, he’s doing what he can to impact a potential change.”
Ramirez came up gimpy after a sliding awkwardly into second base on a double in the fifth inning. While officials were reviewing whether he evaded the tag, Ramirez was stretching his left leg. He remained in the game until he was pulled in the ninth inning.
“Hanley jammed his left leg a little bit,” Farrell said. “We just wanted to get him off his feet in that final inning.”
Ramirez came into the game 1 for his last 14, but a broken-bat single in the first inning gave him his first of three hits on the night.
Cautious with moves
Farrell tweaked the lineup in Seattle on Sunday, moving Victorino up to second in the order. But such tinkering isn’t something Farrell wants to do.
“If it’s centered around one or two spots in the order, you might say let’s look to slide Vic in the 2-hole like we did in Seattle or move him up ahead of a couple guys in that bottom or middle third,” Farrell said.
“[But] we’re in a situation where, to me, I think it’s just important for each and every guy in our lineup to do his job to what his career track record has shown. Not to do more.
“To say that a lineup shakeup would jump-start us all, I mean, that’s kind of having a little bit of a crystal ball.”
The Sox hit just .204 as a team over a 10-game road trip on which they went 5-5, pushing just 23 runs across the plate. An offense they pictured being potent has scored just 38 runs this month, the fewest in baseball, with key pieces such as leadoff man Betts (.210 in May) and cleanup hitter Ramirez (.213, nine strikeouts, no RBIs for the month) struggling.
“We have the capability here,” Farrell said. “And I’m not saying that there won’t be changes, whether that’s to the lineup or whether that’s to our position player group — but coming off the road trip, I thought let’s get through the off day, still maintain some stability, but always with an eye to what changes might help us.”
Uehara streak snapped
Leonys Martin’s leadoff homer off Koji Uehara in the ninth inning snapped a streak of eight straight scoreless, hitless appearances for the Sox closer. Opponents were 0 for 23 against him over that stretch and he had retired all 15 batters he faced in his five home appearances this season . . . David Ortiz hit his first home run at Fenway Park since April 13 against the Nationals. He’s now one shy of tying Carlos Delgado for 31st on the all-time home run list . . . The hype around Yoan Moncada, the 19-year-old second baseman whom the Sox signed out of Cuba in the offseason at a cost of $63 million, turned his minor league debut in Single A Greenville Monday into a spectacle. Farrell kept an eye on things from afar, as Moncada went 0 for 3 with a walk. “I know it was highly anticipated,” Farrell said. “We’ll see how his career unfolds.” Moncada got his first pro hit Tuesday night . . . Dustin Pedroia has reached base in 23 straight games, the longest streak in the American League and the second-longest in the majors behind the Cardinals’ Matt Holliday, who has reached in all 37 of his games played this season . . . NESN color man Jerry Remy, who missed the road trip because he wasn’t feeling well, returned to the broadcast booth.
Julian Benbow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @julianbenbow.