TORONTO -- Rusney Castillo, who didn't appear in the first three games of the Red Sox's season, got his chance on Saturday against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.It didn't seem like the most enviable way to shake off rust, but Castillo did just that, lacing a single and a double to right-center
TORONTO -- Rusney Castillo, who didn't appear in the first three games of the Red Sox's season, got his chance on Saturday against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.
It didn't seem like the most enviable way to shake off rust, but Castillo did just that, lacing a single and a double to right-center in his first two at-bats of the season.
Castillo also did his job in center field, helping the Red Sox to an 8-4 victory over the Blue Jays.
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"I've just been working hard and preparing for the moment that I would be placed into the game so that I could give the best of me in that moment," Castillo said. "That's what happened today."
When the Red Sox signed Castillo to a $72.5 million contract in August 2014, nobody figured he would be a bench player at this stage of his Major League career. But that's the situation, and Castillo plans on making the best of it until it changes.
"The fans expect a lot out of me as a player on this team," Castillo said. "To get in there is something very good for me, and I just tried to make the most out of the opportunity. My main goal is just to help this team -- the Red Sox -- win."
Coming in, Castillo was 0-for-5 in his career against Dickey. It's doubtful he saw many knuckleball pitchers during his career in Cuba either.
"Facing Dickey, he's a very unorthodox pitcher," Castillo said. "Everybody knows he's a tough pitcher to hit against. I was able to make contact on the ball and put the ball in play, and it just worked out for me."
Castillo has the defensive and baserunning skills to be an everyday player. But because of the continued uncertainty there is regarding his offense, manager John Farrell made Brock Holt the team's primary left fielder.
"I've been working on it a lot with [hitting coaches] Chili [Davis] and Victor [Rodriguez], at just making that swing more compact. So far it's been giving me good results," Castillo said.
Pablo Sandoval, Boston's other high-priced backup, also made his first start of the season, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. The third baseman also made an error, but offset it with a nice diving stop later in the game.
"He hasn't seen much live pitching and all of a sudden we're throwing him in against a violent knuckleballer," said Farrell. "Not an easy guy to hit against but like I said before the game, we wanted to keep everybody in the flow of things."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com.