Rusney Castillo, the 27-year-old Cuban outfielder signed by the Boston Red Sox Aug. 23, will make his professional debut on Sunday in Game 2 of the Gulf Coast League championship series.
The Red Sox entry in the Rookie-level league is playing the Yankees affiliate in the series. It will be Castillo’s first competition since 2012.
“He’s ready,” Red Sox player development coordinator Laz Gutierrez told the Boston Herald. “He really wants to help the organization and the Red Sox.”
The Red Sox kicked around the idea of having Castillo play Saturday in Game 1 of the series in Tampa, but opted to hold off until Sunday, where Game 2 will be played in Fort Myers. Castillo has been in Fort Myers most of the week since getting his work visa.
Castillo has worked out in center field and the 5-foot-9 outfielder has shown a solid line-drive swing.
“For a kid who just came over here and performed in these workouts like he has, he’s doing very well,” Gutierrez said. “He’s really worked hard.”
Castillo is only expected to play about three innings Sunday but could play in other minor-league games. Boston’s Double-A Portland affiliate has clinched an Eastern League playoff spot and Triple-A Pawtucket is close to earning a berth in the International League’s postseason.
The Red Sox expect Castillo to make his big-league debut before the season ends, but won’t rush him considering how long it’s been since he has played and that he’s never faced big-league pitching.