Report: Red Sox and Tigers are front-runners to sign Cuban free agent Rusney Castillo

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We heard earlier this week that Cuban free agent outfielder Rusney Castillo was “moving quickly” toward signing with a team and now Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston reports that the Red Sox and Tigers “appear to be the front-runners.” He’s expected to make a decision no later than the weekend.

Castillo, 27, had a showcase late last month which was attended by representatives from 28 MLB teams. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported this morning that he has since had private workouts with eight teams, including the Red Sox, Tigers, Cubs, Yankees, Phillies, Giants, Mariners, and Reds.

Known for his plus-speed, Castillo is expected to command a contract north of Yasiel Puig’s $42 million deal with the Dodgers. It’s believed that he could make his way to the major leagues as soon as this season depending on where he ends up.

Brandon Belt, Jaime Barrios set new modern record with 21-pitch at-bat

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Angels starter Jaime Barrios and Giants first baseman Brandon Belt set a new modern record with a 21-pitch at-bat in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Anaheim. Belt fell behind 1-2 and mostly kept fouling pitches off. The count ran full on the ninth pitch and Belt would foul off 11 more pitches before finally lining out to right field.

As Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle notes, the previous record was set on June 26, 1998 when the Indians’ Bartolo Colon and the Astros’ Ricky Gutierrez battled for 20 pitches. Gutierrez eventually struck out.