Rusney Castillo Downplays Outside Pressure, Focused On Job With Red Sox


May 22, 2015

BOSTON — It?s been a whirlwind week for Rusney Castillo. You?d never know it based on his demeanor.

The Red Sox promoted Castillo, whose wife gave birth earlier this week, before Friday?s game against the Los Angeles Angels at Fenway Park. Castillo is tasked with sparking Boston?s struggling offense, yet the Cuban outfielder looked calm, cool and collected upon arriving at the yard for his first call-up of 2015.

?Obviously I?m very excited,? Castillo said through a translator. ?But right now, it?s just important to keep in mind the job at hand and try to keep the same momentum I was trying to build at Triple-A.?

Castillo has swung the bat well at Triple-A Pawtucket this season. He hit .293 with two homers, 10 RBIs, six stolen bases and a .781 OPS in 18 minor league games before going on paternity leave. A promotion seemed inevitable, especially with the Red Sox?s offense performing so poorly of late, but Castillo refused to get caught up in the outside hoopla while down on the farm.

?It kind of came as a little bit of a surprise,? Castillo said of his promotion. ?It?s not something I was really thinking about too much or focused on too much. I was just trying to do my job at Triple-A and luckily things went this way.?

It made sense for Castillo to start the season at Pawtucket, as Boston dealt with a roster crunch out of spring training and the 27-year-old missed time in camp with an injury. The Red Sox desperately need to infuse some energy into their lineup, though, and Castillo has the skill set to make an immediate impact.

?It?s obviously something that you?ve heard about, but it?s not really something I?ve keyed in on or thought about too much,? Castillo said of helping Boston solve its recent offensive woes. ?I?m just trying to stay in my lane and continue with my preparation.

?Obviously you see that the offense has been struggling a little bit, but in terms of (being) the savior, that?s definitely not the way I?m thinking about it. I just want to get here and help the team in any way I can.?

Castillo probably hasn?t slept much over the last few days given his family development. And it might take some time for him to fully acclimate himself to life in the majors despite his 10-game big league stint at the tail end of 2014. But there?s no rest for the weary. And that?s quite all right with Castillo.

?Obviously it?s been very hectic but also very exciting,? Castillo said. ?I?m very blessed that my wife gave birth to my daughter in the past couple of days, and I just feel very blessed that it?s all coming together at the same time — me coming up here, and thankfully everything went well with her.

?It?s hectic but also in a very positive way.?

Castillo will see time in both right field and center field with the Red Sox, according to manager John Farrell. Fenway Park poses a unique set of challenges given its odd dimensions, but Castillo?s preparation at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Fla. — essentially a mini Fenway — should ease the transition.

The important thing is Castillo, who dealt with a shoulder injury earlier this season, is feeling good mentally and physically upon joining the Red Sox. He?s also welcoming the challenge of playing on the big stage, even if the pressure of being Boston?s ?savior? is the further thing from his mind.

?I think I would categorize myself as one of those players,? Castillo said of whether he thrives in a pressure-packed environment. ?I?ve always liked to play in front of big crowds and under the lights.?

The crowds will be big and the lights will be bright going forward. It’s time for Castillo to shine.

Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@Cut4

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