Rusney Castillo on joining Red Sox: 'I'm just ecstatic to be here'

Mike Petraglia
August 23, 2014 - 6:49 pm
Rusney Castillo still is learning his way around Boston. But the 27-year-old Cuba native knows enough that playing in Boston is unlike any other city in the majors. "It really means a lot for me to be a part of such a historic organization. I'm just ecstatic to be here," Castillo said through Red Sox translator Adrian Lorenzo, answering the first question he was asked during his introductory news conference at Fenway Park after Saturday's 7-3 loss to the Mariners. Castillo said there was no debate about coming to America once he talked it over with his family. "It really wasn't that difficult of decision to make because I had a lot of support from my family back home," Castillo said. Castillo left immediately after the press conference to head back to Miami, where Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said the player will stay while the team works on his work visa in the States. Once the paperwork is finished and cleared, Castillo is expected to make the trek across Florida to Fort Myers, where he will report to the player development complex for work, something that is crucial at this point since he hasn't played competitively in some 18 months. Castillo said he has spoken to fellow countryman Yoenis Cespedes about what it will take to adjust to playing in the majors, especially in Boston. "So actually, I've spoken to Cespedes a little bit about this," Castillo said. "He made me aware that it's the same game we've played in Cuba. Success here will come down to working and grinding on a day-to-day level." But Castillo made it clear that he wasn't in touch with Cespedes, or Jose Abreu or any other Cuban stars, while he and his agent were in negotiations with major league clubs over the past several weeks. "I didn't really talk to him throughout the process," Castillo said. "I got to talk to him [Saturday pregame] for a little while. He's obviously a player I've admired for a long time, and I'm happy to be a member of the Red Sox with him." On Saturday, Red Sox manager compared Castillo to Dodgers sensation Yasiel Puig, calling Castillo, at 5-foot-7, a shorter version of the Los Angeles outfielder. Will Castillo join the list of players like Puig, Cespedes, Jose Abreu and Aroldis Chapman who have made a major splash once signing with an MLB team? The Red Sox think so. Castillo, for now, is just grateful to have been given the chance to prove the Red Sox wise for signing him. "It's really been a dream come true to be given this opportunity to play, especially in light of the success of recent Cuban players," Castillo said. "It's an honor and a privilege, really."