Mookie Betts

Mookie Betts, Rusney Castillo ready to make their mark

John Tomase
January 16, 2015 - 10:54 am

For two guys with barely 60 games between them, Mookie Betts and Rusney Castillo project to play major roles on the 2015 Red Sox. The two worked out at Harvard on Friday at the team's rookie development program, though it's fair to say they were in very different places than the rest of the prospects in attendance. In Betts, the Red Sox have the player they believe can take the torch from Jacoby Ellsbury and become their leadoff hitter for the next five or 10 years. In Castillo, they boast an athletic center fielder who will likely start the year at the bottom of the batting order, but is more than capable of hitting atop it. Betts and Castillo represent energy and excitement, two dimensions last year's team sorely lacked. "[The Red Sox] will take care of what they need to take care of, which is the Red Sox,"€ Betts told reporters. "They'€™re going to put the winning nine out there. If I'€™m not a part of it, that'€™s fine. I'€™ll be ready and on the bench to go. And if I am, that'€™s great as well." As for Castillo, he's coming off a successful winter ball stint in Puerto Rico, as well as a nice run in the Arizona Fall League, and is raring to get to spring training and begin his big league career in earnest. "€œIt's gone really well actually,"€ he said through translator Adrian Lorenzo. "€œIt's helping me build some experience and on top of that, when I got back to Miami after playing in those leagues, I really stepped it up with my preparation and my training so I feel really good going into this season and this spring training." Betts hit .291 with an .812 OPS at age 21 in 52 games with the Red Sox last year. Castillo arrived in mid-September and hit .333 with a pair of homers in 10 games. If they make an impact in 2015, the Red Sox will be in business. "The first thing that stands out about playing in Boston is the difference in the size of the crowds, playing in front of tens of thousands of people is an obvious difference," Castillo said. "But I guess I was able, especially towards the end of my stint, I was able to do well in controlling that and keeping the nerves down and I think that's something I'll take to help me out moving forward."