FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Rusney Castillo already knows that he won't be playing left field everyday. Pablo Sandoval may soon find out the same thing about third base.
Both players were in the lineup Tuesday when the Red Sox dropped a rain-shortened 6-2 decision to the Minnesota Twins, insisting that reduced playing time -- or, in Sandoval's case, the possibility of reduced playing time -- won't impact how they approach things.
For Sandoval, it was his first major league game in a week, having been sidelined by lower back stiffness. He returned to action with a single in three at-bats and made a nice play on a soft chopper in the bottom of the first inning.
"I felt good, no pain, felt loose,'' said Sandoval of his back. "I feel like I can get low, move around and have no tightness, so I feel ready.''
Asked if he felt any pressure to retain his job in the remaining days of spring training, Sandoval said: "Like I said, I'm going to focus on playing the game, being healthy and be available to play in the field. Those are the (keys) in my mind right now. I don't focus on (who's starting). I can't control those things. I'm focused to play the game right, support my teammates and play good defense.''
Sandoval is still getting daily treatment for the back.
"But it doesn't bother me right now,'' he said.
"He moved well,'' noted John Farrell. "He came on a couple of slow rollers, which are challenging plays, and handled them good. The lower back issue that he's dealing with didn't have any effect on his swing. I think he took some really good swings righthanded. That's been the area that's been most improved with him, from the right side of the plate. It's a good-looking swing.''
As for Castillo, he went 0-for-2, dropping his Grapefruit League average to .204.
He, too, insisted that he wasn't deterred by the loss of playing time.
"My plan is always to be ready for the season,'' said Castillo through an interpreter. "I don't pay attention to anything other than that. I'm ready to play, whether I'm in the game or coming off the bench. My plan is just to always stay ready for whatever situation happens.''
In the past, Castillo has shown to be a better hitter when he gets consistent playing time and has the opportunity to find some rhythm at the plate.
This year, at least to start, he won't have that opportunity, but maintained he would deal with whatever circumstances are presented.
"I'll always stay prepared and be focused on preparing,'' he said, "so whatever situation arises, I'll be able to respond in an adequate manner.''