Red Sox

Red Sox

BOSTON - Someday, Wednesday's 13-8 loss to the New York Yankees may be a date worth remembering in Red Sox history -- not for the game itself, but in marking the first major league game ever for Rusney Castillo in left field.

Then again, it might be a mere bit of trivia and Castillo could end up elsewhere in the Red Sox outfield of the future.

For now, it was a learning experience.

"I thought he did pretty good,'' said interim manager Torey Lovullo. "I had a quick discussion with him during the game, asking him how he was doing out there and he said he felt comfortable and that he felt good. So I think all indications were showing that it's a word in progress, to be continued.

"But his first game is behind him and I know that he felt pretty good about how it turned out.''

In truth, in the early innings, Castillo saw more balls hit over his head -- and over The Wall -- as the Yankees batted around starter Henry Owens and reliever Ryan Cook.

In a long afternoon, it wasn't until the ninth inning that Castillo even recorded his first putout in left.

But as early as the second inning, Castillo found himself having to play a ball off The Wall, which he did nicely, handling an odd carom, and then firing into the infield where the Sox caught Brett Gardner in a rundown off second.

 

Playing balls off the Green Monster will take time and practice, but Castillo was pleased with his introduction.

"It was an overall positive experience,'' said Castillo through a translator, ''especially being able to play there for the first time. I felt pretty comfortable out there. I thought it went well.''

Castillo played both right and center in Cuba and has played mostly right and some center with the Red Sox. Getting his first start in left was a different experience, especially at Fenway, which offers its own peculiarities.

"First thing that stands out as a difference is the depth you play at,'' he said, noting left field's cozier dimensions. "You know that everything over your head is going to be off the wall, so you have to see how those bounce off. But playing at a different depth and coming in on everything -- as opposed to going back on the ball -- that's different.

"But it's a good thing that Arnie (Beyeler, first base coach and outfield instructor) have been doing a lot of work out there and he's hit balls at me every which way, so I felt pretty comfortable by gametime.''

Castillo gave credit to Beyeler for his willingness to work with the outfielder and get him ready for all the nuances of left field play at Fenway.

"It's been a great experience,'' said Castillo. "Arnie's helped me a lot. I think I've made a lot of positive steps. He's a tireless worker and he's made me a tireless worker. It's all been positive.''

For the rest of the regular season, the Red Sox have announced plans to move all three of their outfielders -- Castillo, Mookie Betts, and Jackie Bradley Jr. -- in all three spots to determine the best possible fits.

Castillo is up for the experimentation, but professes to have no preference.

"Honestly, wherever the manager wants to put me,'' said Castillo, "I'm OK with that. I don't prefer one to the other. Left field, center field, right field - wherever they need me. I think we can do great things as an outfield unit -- not only for the rest of the season, but in the years to come as well.''