Link-O-Rama: Choo sits on Korean Heritage Night

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* Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com, on Eric Wedge’s odd lineup
last night: “Entering tonight, [Shin-Soo] Choo had started 91 of the
Indians’ 94 games this season. He hadn’t been out of the starting
lineup since way back on May 29. Tonight, the Rogers Centre is
celebrating Korean Heritage Night. Presumably, there will be quite a
few Koreans on-hand. If nothing else, there are a handful of Korean
media members here. No one told Wedge. Because, naturally, Choo has the
night off.” Choo, of course, is the most prominent Korean-born baseball
player in the world.

* Jason Schmidt wasn’t very impressive Monday night in his first start since 2007, but was apparently good enough to get another chance this weekend. I’ll set the over/under on runs allowed against the Marlins at 5 1/2.

* He’s only been with the team for a couple weeks, but this picture of Jeff Francoeur from last night’s game basically encapsulates the Mets’ entire season.

* Longtime major leaguer Kevin Mench won’t be back
with the Hanshin Tigers after hitting .148 and “dealing with fatigue
and anxiety issues” during his first (and perhaps last) season in
Japan.

* Daniel Monson of MLive.com sat down for an interview with all-time announcing great Ernie Harwell, who’s still going strong at the age of 91.

* Alyson Footer digs up some old photos
from a “wives gala” that the Astros held nearly 20 years ago, complete
with shots of Casey Candaele break dancing and lots of 1990s hair.

Justin Verlander: “I’d like to see the AL and NL have the same rules… I vote NL rules.”

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 10:  Starting pitcher Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers pitches against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning at Safeco Field on August 10, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
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On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”

Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:

To that, Archer said:

For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.

Rusney Castillo disappoints again by not running out a routine grounder

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 18:  Rusney Castillo #38 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after he was caught off third base for the third out of the third inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on August 18, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
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The Red Sox inked Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract back in August 2014. Over parts of three seasons, the 29-year-old has a .679 OPS across 337 plate appearances in the majors and spent the vast majority of the 2016 season at Triple-A Pawtucket.

Castillo had a chance to start things off on the right foot in 2017, but that ship has already sailed. On Thursday against Northeastern at JetBlue Park, Castillo didn’t run out a routine ground ball. He claims he lost track of the outs. Manager John Farrell isn’t happy about the situation. Via Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald:

“Disappointing for a couple of reasons,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “One, he has lost the number of outs. Still, regardless of another of outs, getting down the line is controllable. And for a player in his situation, every little aspect of the game is important. That’s something that was addressed in the moment. He needs to execute the game situation. And for that matter, every player. But that one obviously stood out.”

Everyone always makes far too big a deal about running out grounders. It’s a real nit to pick when it’s February 23 and your team just finished playing an exhibition game that is even more meaningless than the other exhibition games that will be played in the coming month.

That being said, Castillo has to prove himself to merit inclusion on the 25-man roster and that means dotting all his i’s and crossing all his t’s. Even if he went hitless all spring, Castillo could have at least said he couldn’t have done anything else better. But on day one, he already gave his team a reason to count him out.