Rusney Castillo is embracing the experience.
Castillo, who signed a seven-year, $72.5 million contract with the Boston Red Sox last August, left behind most of his family in Cuba in pursuit of a major league career. The 27-year-old?s story remains unwritten, but his transition marked a welcome change despite the obvious uncertainties.
“Obviously, it goes without saying that leaving family behind is very difficult,” Castillo recently told WEEI.com?s Rob Bradford at spring training in Fort Myers. “But once I made the decision, at least for me personally, I didn’t look back. No regrets. It was easy for me to turn the page.”
Castillo is under contract with the Red Sox until at least 2019, so the outfielder can count on some stability as he acclimates to life in the United States. There are certain things he misses about his native country, though, making it clear his evolution is about more than just baseball.
“Just neighborhood interactions, people to people, whether it’s smoking cigars with a group of friends, or kicking a ball around, playing some soccer with the young kids, things like that,” Castillo told Bradford of what he misses most about Cuba. “Those are the things I think about. The people in my neighborhood, the people I grew up around and was born with, those people — that’s what I miss.”
Leaving Cuba to land a fat paycheck not only seems like a logical move, it?s also becoming increasingly common, with several international players bursting onto the scene in recent years. The family aspect of leaving one?s native land can?t be overlooked, however, even if such change seems inevitable for certain players, like Castillo.
“It’s something that happens pretty quickly, so it’s not something I talked about with too many people or wanted to involve too many people in,” Castillo told Bradford. “Obviously, we’re not going to get into specifics, but that’s something that happens quick. Once it happens, you’re not including other people in it. No one really tried to talk me out of it.”
If someone had tried to talk Castillo out of moving to America, it?s possible the plea would have fallen on deaf ears. But either way, the cards have been dealt and Castillo is looking to make the most of his hand.
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Thumbnail photo via Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports Images