Rusney Castillo

Rusney Castillo goes deep in first Grapefruit League at-bat

Rob Bradford
March 20, 2015 - 2:36 pm

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Maybe Rusney Castillo is going to make things interesting in these final couple of weeks. While most have ticketed Castillo for the minors to start the regular season due to time missed thanks to an oblique injury, along with the play of center fielder Mookie Betts, the Cuban outfielder began to make his mark Friday. Entering the Red Sox' game against the Orioles in the top of the seventh, Castillo launched a three-run homer in his first official at-bat of spring training. (He had three at-bats in the Sox' exhibition game against Northeastern, while playing in minor leagues Wednesday and Thursday). "I was obviously happy it turned out to be a home run," Castillo said through translator Adrian Lorenzo. "More than anything, I was just happy that I was able to go out there completely healthy and pain free and felt really good out there. It's really good to be back out there." Castillo will get the start in center field against the Pirates in Bradenton on Saturday. And while his landing spot for Opening Day will remain uncertain for at least a week or so, for the time being Castillo is solace in the certainty of being on a baseball field. "To be honest, it's not something where I've ever felt any pressure to play baseball," Castillo said. "Baseball is my one safe haven. I've just never felt pressure playing, even with the contract and everything. It's not something I think about." The Red Sox ultimately lost the game, 11-5, with starter Justin Masterson making some strides after a disappointing outing his last time out. Against the Orioles, Masterson allowed four hits and a run over four innings.Tommy Layne followed the starter with a perfect inning, while Mitchell Boggs (3 walks, no outs) and Zeke Spruill (1 IP, 3 runs, 4 hits) struggled in the late innings. "It was better," Masterson said. "Started off kind of babying the ball a little bit then it got better. Trying to get into my arm slot, stay there. It's still a little bit inconsistent but for the most part, right there. ... In the overall sense I was happy with it. A nice progression from where we were in the last outing to this outing. Perfect. Spring training."