According to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald, new Red Sox outfielder Rusney Castillo will make his professional debut tomorrow in Game Two of the rookie-level Gulf Coast League championship series.
This will actually be Castillo’s first game action since his final season in Cuba in 2012. The Red Sox considered having him make his debut today in Tampa so that Red Sox manager John Farrell and his coaching staff could attend, however they ultimately decided to ease him into things for a game at Fort Myers, which is where he has spent most of the week.
Castillo, who landed a record seven-year, $72.5 million contract, is expected to play about three innings in his debut. The minor league season is wrapping up, but the Red Sox have other affiliates in the postseason, so the 27-year-old should see more game action in the coming days. He’s expected to make his way to the major league roster at some point in September.
Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday.
After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.
With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.