FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Takeaways from the Fort, where the Red Sox fell to the Miami Marlins, 5-3, in their Grapefruit League home opener before a crowd of 9,830 in JetBlue Park:
-- The day’s most positive development may have come off the field, where manager John Farrell sounded much more optimistic about outfielder Rusney Castillo’s strained left oblique muscle than he had when Castillo first incurred the injury Tuesday night while taking a swing against Boston College.
“He did some work in the pool today, in addition to elliptical," Farrell said. “He’s starting to gain a little rotational movement. We may even put a ball in his hand to do some light throwing. It’s not intense throwing, more to just increase the rotation. The next step is to get him on some ground base work, which would include some light running.
“Two days ago, there was some concern, and rightfully so, but he’s making very solid progress."
The Sox can still be expected to proceed cautiously with Castillo, but he may miss less time than originally feared.
-- Former shortstop Hanley Ramirez played left field for the first time in a game and did not handle a chance before being lifted for a pinch-runner in the fifth inning. The only ball hit his way was a fifth-inning blooper that fell just inside the left-field line for a single.
-- Right-hander Justin Masterson gave up an unearned run on an error, stolen base and infield hit in the first inning of his two innings of work Friday.
“I threw one through somebody’s legs, but at least I didn’t hit anybody," said Masterson, who is coming off the worst season of his big-league career due to a cascading series of events that began with an oblique strain late in 2013, a right knee injury caused in part by the oblique, and subsequent shoulder issues connected to poor mechanics.
Counting the ball that resulted in a throwing error by shortstop Brock Holt and Marcell Ozuna’s infield hit, Masterson induced a half-dozen ground balls, including a double play started by second baseman Jemile Weeks in the second inning.
“I never actually was at the point of anything being right last season," Masterson said. “I tried to ‘tough guy’ through it, which was kind of a learning experience. Last year I went out there it was, ‘All right, please, maybe, hopefully.' "
-- Daniel Nava was the only Sox player with more than one hit, with a double and single and run scored. Nava’s left-handed bat would seem to assure him a backup spot, especially in an outfield in which Betts, Ramirez, Castillo and Allen Craig all hit from the right side.
-- Closer Koji Uehara, in his first spring appearance, gave up three hits and a run Friday, the first he has allowed in three springs for the Sox. Uehara, who turns 40 on April 3, did not allow a hit or a run in six spring appearances last season for the Sox, and made 10 scoreless appearances in 2013, allowing four hits, a couple of walks and 12 strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings.
“Regardless of status and career path and point in career, it’s going to take outings in spring training to gain consistency, and Koji’s no different," Farrell said.
The manager said he expects Uehara to make eight to 10 appearances in camp.
-- Mike Morse, whose joyous romp around the bases after his game-tying home run for the Giants in Game 5 of the NLCS was one of last October’s most endearing highlights, has moved on to the Miami Marlins. Morse, who played first base Friday and had a double, talked about his former teammate on the Giants, Pablo Sandoval.
“He’s a player, man, he comes every day, he competes. He has quality at-bats, he can do anything," Morse said. “Overall, he’s a good player. And he’s a good guy, man. Definitely got a personality, and I think he’ll jell perfectly with Boston. Very happy-go-lucky, energetic, loud guy."
Morse also is close friends with Mike Napoli, who he played against in high school in south Florida.
"That’s my boy, man," Morse said. "He went to Flanagan, I went to Nova. We were rivals. And after high school, when we both began professional careers, we became really, really good friends. We worked out every offseason, although he lives in Boston now.
“Who hit ‘em farther? Nap, for sure. He batted leadoff because everybody would walk him."
-- An unexpected candidate for the Sox bullpen? Farrell had raves for Matt Barnes, who threw two scoreless innings against the Twins on Thursday night and hit 97 on the Hammond Stadium radar gun.
“The velocity with which he pitched last night, I don’t think that shows up in a starting role," Farrell said. “He’s always had swing-and-miss ability with the fastball. And I think last night his tightening up of the breaking ball gives him a tighter strike zone. Last year was more of a top-to-bottom type of breaking ball that might be more difficult to command for strikes."
Barnes figured to give the Sox depth in their starting rotation, where he was expected to head a rotation that also included four left-handers -- Henry Owens, Eduardo Rodriguez, Brian Johnson and Edwin Escobar -- and knuckleballer Steven Wright. Wright, who starts Saturday against the Orioles in Sarasota, also is a candidate to make the big club as a swingman.