Rusney Castillo hasn’t exactly been a revelation for the Boston Red Sox this season.
The 28-year-old Cuban defector, who signed a seven-year, $72.5 million contract with the Red Sox last summer, is batting .229 with just two extra-base hits since being called up from the minors last month.
Couple that lackluster production with Brock Holt’s recent surge, and Castillo has in some ways become the odd man out in Boston’s outfield.
But while no team wants such a high-priced player spending so much time on the bench, Red Sox assistant general manager Mike Hazen believes it’s too early to make any judgments on the first-year major leaguer.
“Obviously, we love the speed, the defense, the ability to impact the ball from a raw strength standpoint, but this guy’s still trying to get his timing down,” Hazen said Thursday on WEEI’s “Dennis and Callahan.” “I realize the commitment that was made from a financial standpoint, so results are expected right away. It’s still a guy within the first 100 plate appearances of this season at the major league level. As we watch guys move into that phase at the major league level, as they’re getting attacked a lot differently than they do when they’re either in Triple-A or somewhere else or even September last year when you’re facing a lot of September call-ups in a lot of cases, this is a more challenging environment.
“He’s got to make some adjustments with his swing, and I think right now, he’s getting a little bit over-aggressive at certain periods of time trying to impact the ball with every single swing on every single pitch, and that just doesn’t work up here, and he’s going to figure that out. He’s a smart kid, he’s very talented, he works really hard, he has the ability to impact the baseball and do a lot of things on the field, so we’re still very happy with Rusney Castillo as a player.”
Hazen did add, however, that the team has not ruled out sending Castillo back to Pawtucket if he is not seeing regular playing time with the big club.
“If it gets to the point where we’re beyond a situation where he needs to go down and play everyday, then we’ll figure that situation out at that time,” Hazen said. “It’s still a little bit unsettled up here with (Shane) Victorino‘s time frame and all those other things, when he’s coming back, he’s going to hopefully go out this week, but if we do get to that point, then yes, it is a fair question.”
Castillo has posted a .229/.260/.286 slash line with one home run and six RBIs in 22 games for the Sox this season.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images