Cuban defector Rusney Castillo signs autographs at Fenway Park Saturday morning. (Conor Ryan/WEEI.com)

John Farrell: Rusney Castillo looks like 'a shorter version of [Yasiel] Puig'

August 23, 2014 - 8:51 am
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The Red Sox' latest Cuban import has finally touched down in Beantown. Outfielder Rusney Castillo, who is expected to be introduced as a Red Sox on Saturday after agreeing to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract with Boston, was at Fenway Park Saturday morning, chatting with Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano (a fellow client of Roc Nation Sports, a partnership between Jay-Z's Roc Nation and CAA) and signing autographs near the Red Sox dugout. While the deal has yet to be announced, Red Sox manager John Farrell stated that Castillo is enthusiastic about getting his first taste of major-league action in Boston. "I did get a chance to sit with him and talk with him this morning, he'€™s excited to be here. Glad the process has moved along to this point and excited to get started, when that day comes," Farrell said. The timetable for when Castillo will be officially introduced by the organization is unclear at this time, but Farrell added that a press conference will likely be held after Saturday'€™s game with more information on Castillo'€™s status with the club. "€œHe'€™s going through the final stages of a full exam here. He'€™s in town, as everyone has probably seen. ... What remains? There still are a number of administrative things that he'€™s got to go through, a work visa, all those types of things," Farrell said. "As far as a timeline, that will be determined a little bit later, and like I said, all those questions will be answered later today." The 5-foot-9 Castillo has intrigued scouts across MLB with his rare combination of speed, defense and  his potential at the plate. Farrell acknowledged that he has not seen much of Castillo in action, but didn'€™t hesitate to compare him to another Cuban that has made a seamless transition to the major leagues. "There'€™s not a lot [of video] available, actually,"€ Farrell said. "€œI'€™ve seen a couple of clips of him taking BP or him running, looks to be an explosive type of player." Farrell continued: "He'€™s obviously a very strong-looking athlete. Maybe a little bit of a shorter version of [Yasiel] Puig. You get a similar proportion to that type of body, so what that means performance-wise, we'€™ll see, but we'€™re confident in the athleticism and the overall strength." While Farrell did not have a definitive answer in terms of when a deal with Castillo will be finalized, he added that the organization certainly has a gameplan for the promising outfielder this season. "It'€™s going to take a number of days,"€ Farrell said. "I will say this, that it'€™s our hope and our intent that he does get some at-bats at an affiliate once that day comes, and I don'€™t have the exact timeline on that." One Red Sox team source suggested that depending on how Castillo looks after not having played in games since 2012 (when he was suspended by Cuba for his desire to defect), winter ball could be a consideration to eliminate lingering rust. Nonetheless, the Sox fully expect that Castillo will be ready for an everyday role by the start of 2015. Alex Speier contributed to this report.

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