With a little over a month until Opening Day, the Boston Red Sox still don’t have a starting center fielder. But in this case, it’s actually a good thing.
Boston has some healthy competition between Rusney Castillo and Mookie Betts for the job in center, and both are worthy candidates. But both of them also have little MLB experience — Betts only has 52 games under his belt while Castillo has just 10 — so for now, they’ll be splitting the work in spring training games.
“Like we said at the outset of camp, we’ll take all of camp to determine that,” manager John Farrell said Sunday, per MLB.com’s Ian Browne. “They’re going to get equal playing time. But I think it’s important they both get comfortable with the combination of the guys on the flank because of communication, the responsibilities for balls in the gap, fly ball communication and those priorities.”
Still, the two are improving rapidly in camp. For Betts, it’s about becoming more comfortable with his transition from second base to the outfield.
“I didn’t know it was going to be as hard as it was,” Betts said of the switch, per WEEI’s John Tomase. “I knew it would be a tough adjustment. Being at the big league level and everything, it gets kind of magnified. It was a bigger adjustment than I thought, but I feel like I’m taking strides.”
Farrell echoed Betts’ sentiments, adding that the young outfielder “feels comfortable in his own skin” and is asking questions and making adjustments.
As for Castillo, the Cuban defector quickly is becoming accustomed to life in a new country, which Farrell said has been important for the team.
“His English continues to improve, so the communication on responsibilities to defense are becoming more readily comprehended,” Farrell said, via MLB.com. “But we don’t take that for granted. That’ll always be translated, at least at this point. But just getting to know more about him as a person, you come to find out there’s a highly intelligent guy here that has gained a level of comfort, even though it’s been a short period of time. He’s settled in well.”
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images