Rusney Castillo evidently sees the importance of the upcoming season.
According to a source familiar with the situation, the 29-year-old is slated start playing in the Puerto Rican Winter League starting Dec. 8, with the plan to participate until the completion of the schedule in early January.
Castillo has spent some time playing for Caguas in Puerto Rico in each of the past two offseasons, but never played for this length of time.
The outfielder is hoping to reverse the trend of a major league career that continues to flounder, with four years, $46 million still left on his contract. Castillo’s stay with the Red Sox hit a low point last season when the organization took him off the 40-man roster.
In 103 games for Triple-A Pawtucket last season, Castillo hit .263 with a .664 OPS, two home runs and nine stolen bases. Despite making the Opening Day roster, he only played in nine games for the Red Sox, going 2-for-8.
Castillo did show some signs of life once moved to the leadoff spot with the PawSox, hitting .287 with a .725 OPS. He also managed a .351 batting average and an .897 OPS in August.
Playing in parts of three seasons since signing his seven-year, $72.5 million contract, Castillo has hit .262 with a .679 OPS in 99 games, striking out 63 times and drawing just 16 walks.
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