BOSTON (CBS) –The Boston Red Sox aren’t playing for much over the last few weeks of the regular season, but at least there is one player who will fill the final 11 games with some intrigue.
Rusney Castillo homered Tuesday night in the Pawtucket Red Sox’ losing effort against the Omaha Storm Chasers in the Triple-A title game, and now it’s time for him to finally make his major league debut.
Castillo will be manning center field for the Red Sox Wednesday night as they continue their series against the Pirates. Manager John Farrell didn’t say where Castillo will bat in the lineup, but he’s heard plenty of good things from the minor league staff on the Cuban defector.
“He’s handled himself well. Given the time off since the last time he played competitively, his at-bats have been productive and consistent,” Farrell said of Castillo, who had a year-and-a-half off from competition when he signed with Boston. “It’s important for us to keep in mind and in perspective that it’s been a year-and-a-half, so he’s just kind of getting back into game shape.”
The 27-year-old Castillo signed a seven-year, $72.5 million contract with the Red Sox back in August, and was slowly introduced to the professional game in the U.S. — first with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox at the end of August before moving up to the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs and Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox. He registered 12 hits in 41 at-bats during his minor league stint, most recently going 6-for-22 with the PawSox with a pair of doubles, a home run and three runs scored.
“He’s an electric player with a lot of skills — he’s explosive, quick-twitch,” Farrell said. “We’re looking forward to seeing him in this environment.
“I think the goal going in right now, for the games he’s on the field, is for him to just experience this,” added Farrell. “We’ve got a little read on him right now, on where his strengths and limitations might be, but that’s just an initial view. We’re still in the getting-familiar stage of all of this. Any judgment on my part is reserved until we get a chance to see him more.”
Farrell said he doesn’t expect Castillo to be an everyday player over the final 11 games of the regular season, and that the organization and Castillo are “in the middle of a process that will continue through the winter.” Castillo will continue to play in either the Arizona Fall League or in Puerto Rico, according to Farrell.
While a disappointing season comes to a close over the next two weeks, Castillo will bring a little bit of excitement to the team.
“It’s going to be fun,” said Clay Buchholz, who will get the start for Boston on Wednesday. “I’ve heard quite a few things about him and his skills on the field. He’s talented, so it’s going to be fun for everybody.”
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