Rusney Castillo shouldn't have an issue with staying in the batter's box. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Rusney Castillo knows all about being penalized for stepping out of batter's box

Rob Bradford
February 26, 2015 - 11:36 am
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The mystery of what is going to transpire when umpires start enforcing Major League Baseball's new rule of not allowing hitters to step out of the batter's box isn't a mystery to Rusney Castillo, at all. As it turns out, Castillo has already gone through such a transition, along with the rest of those playing under the Baseball Federation of Cuba. The Red Sox outfielder explained Thursday that in an effort to speed up the games (sound familiar) the governing body of Cuban baseball decided to enact the same rule that is creating so much buzz heading into the 2015 MLB season. "The game used to be really long, but about two years ago they implemented the rule we'€™re trying to implement, with the hitter staying in the box," Castillo said. "That sped the game up a little bit. "It did mess with some hitters, but for me, if I've got to do it, I've got to do it and I didn't think about all that much. It wasn't all that difficult for me, personally." Unlike the proposed MLB regulation, where the penalty is a warning and a potential fine, the ramification of stepping out of the box in Cuba was a called strike. (Cuban pitchers also are mandated to throw a pitch within an allotted time span, with somebody -- although not publicly-viewed clock -- monitoring the seconds. The payment for going over is a called ball.) "The biggest complaint is that people like to take that time to readjust and refocus," Castillo said. "It was just happening a little too quick, quicker than they wanted to. They wanted to control the tempo. "It just took some time, but over the course of a season it just became normal. Now it'€™s just normal. I don'€™t know about a big difference, but it did make a difference." Watch the first few pitches of Castillo's initial professional at-bat, and you can get an understanding of how he has learned to adjust in between offerings:

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