Template:Spanish name 2 Rusney Castillo Peraza (born September 7, 1987) is a Cuban professional baseball outfielder for the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball. Listed at 5'8 and 186 lbs, he bats and throws right handed.[1]

Castillo was born in Ciego de Ávila, a city located in the central part of Cuba and the capital of Ciego de Ávila Province. At age 22, he showed enough skills to land a spot on Los Tigres, the nickname for Ciego de Ávila's club in the Cuban National Series. Additionally, he played with the Cuban national baseball team in several international tournaments, including the 2011 Baseball World Cup and the 2011 Pan American Games, before defecting from Cuba to the United States in December 2013 to pursue a Major League Baseball career.[1] Castillo signed a $72.5 million contract with the Boston Red Sox on August 23, 2014 which runs through 2020.

Cuban baseball careerEdit

Castillo joined the Ciego de Ávila team in the 2008–2009 season, playing for them through 2012–2013. Used sparingly during his first two seasons, he played only 28 games in his rookie year and 44 as a sophomore, while hitting averages of .349 (15-for-43) and .303 (30-for-99), respectively. He spent most of his time playing second base, third base, and the corner outfield positions, until becoming a solid center fielder in the years to come.[2]

His breakout season came in 2010–2011, when he got a major boost in playing time and posted a .320 average with 22 home runs and 95 runs batted in in 107 games, including 75 runs scored, 27 doubles, five triples, and a league-lead 32 stolen bases.[2]

Castillo enjoyed another fine season in 2011–2012, as he batted .342 and slugged .574 in 113 games, stealing 27 bases and collecting a very solid .408 on-base percentage, while driving in 84 runs and scoring 101 times. In addition, he topped the league with 37 doubles, ranked 13th in batting average and tied for third in stolen bases.[2]

Castillo played his last season in 2012–2013. But this time his batting average declined to .274, as well as his games played (68), going 64-for-234 with six homers, 29 RBI and 15 stolen bases.[2]

International competitionEdit

In between, Castillo gained prominence as a member of the Cuban national baseball squad. With Yoenis Céspedes and Leonys Martín gone from Cuba, he became the regular center fielder for his team in the Baseball World Cup held at Panama in 2011. Castillo was named to the tournament’s All-Star team after leading the World Cup in batting average (.512) and slugging (.854) while ranking fourth in on-base percentage (.524). Overall, he went 21-for-41 with four doubles, two triples and two homers in 10 games.[3]

Castillo also played in the 2011 Pan American Games hosted by Mexico, where he hit .273 (6-for-22) and slugged .318 with a .333 OBP. In the same year, he played in the World Port Tournament in the Netherlands. Then, in 2012 he appeared in exhibition baseball series held at Nicaragua, Taiwan, Japan and Cuba, where he faced the U.S. College National Team, in preparation for the upcoming 2013 World Baseball Classic. Castillo was originally slated to be part of the team, but he did not make the final cut. According to an official statement released, he was suspended for trying to defect.[1]

As the Havana Times reports, a pattern has developed especially over the last decade whereby Cuban baseball stars and top prospects attempt to leave the island illegally and are caught and suspended from playing in the Cuban league. With no choice left to them to continue in their profession, they then succeed at a future attempt escaping to a neighboring country.[4]

Finally, Castillo attempted to leave Cuba once more, and was successful. In early June of 2014, he was granted official free agent status by Major League Baseball after establishing permanent residency in the Dominican Republic and being unblocked by the Office of Foreign Assets Control.[1]

Boston Red SoxEdit

On August 23, 2014, the Boston Red Sox signed Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract. Castillo was given the jersey number (#38) he wore in Cuba.[5] He made his Major League debut on September 17, 2014 as the Red Sox starting center fielder.

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit

Template:Boston Red Sox roster navbox

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