Rusney Castillo is impressed with potential new teammate Yoan Moncada. ( photo)

Rusney Castillo on Yoan Moncada: 'A pretty complete player'

John Tomase
February 23, 2015 - 10:17 am

Red Sox outfielder Rusney Castillo doesn't know Yoan Moncada particularly well '€“ they met at a Cuban All-Star Game in 2013 '€“ but Castillo remembers enough to be impressed with the newest member of the organization. "If it'€™s true -- obviously I don'€™t know anything for sure -- but if it is, it's welcome, and I'€™m happy he'€™s here with us," Castillo said through translator Adrian Lorenzo. The Red Sox are still finalizing the deal that will net the 19-year-old Moncada a $31.5 million signing bonus. Once he arrives, he'll again cross paths with Castillo, his fellow Cuban. "It'€™s always a positive thing to have more and more Cuban players in the league," Castillo said. "It'€™s definitely something exciting and something I look forward to continuing." Moncada's addition gives the Red Sox an exciting core of up-and-coming youngsters, whether it's 22-year-olds Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts in the big leagues, catching prospect Blake Swihart at Triple A, or left-hander Henry Owens, also at Pawtucket. "We're not just thinking about now," Bogaerts said. "We're kind of thinking about the future as well. He's a great addition to the team. I've never seen him play, but I've heard a lot about him. He's a great talent from Cuba. I mean, he has to be good to give him that amount of money, you know?" Castillo reportedly raced -- and lost --€“ a sprint around the bases with Moncada at that Cuban All-Star Game in 2013, but that's not how Castillo remembers the story, which he described as a relay. "I remember that he could run," Castillo said. "We were in a running competition, but I actually ran home to first, and he ran the bases. . . . I can't think of a comp off the top of my head, but I know he's a pretty complete player." Castillo said the Red Sox spoke to him informally before signing Moncada. Right now, he said, he's learning just how big baseball is in Boston and around the country. "I think I can gain an appreciation for it," he said. "I've been gaining an appreciation for how important it is, especially given our fanbase and media presence."