Rusney Castillo will play in the majors for the Red Sox in September “barring something unforeseen”

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Tim Britton of the Providence Journal reports that, according to Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, outfielder Rusney Castillo will play in the major leagues this season “barring something unforeseen.” Castillo, who came to the U.S. from Cuba, inked a seven-year, $72.5 million contract with the Red Sox on August 23.

Castillo was in the lineup, leading off for Double-A Portland in Wednesday evening’s game against the Binghamton Mets, the first game of the Eastern League playoffs. Cherington said Castillo will stick with Portland for the duration of their five-game series against Binghamton. Castillo debuted for the Red Sox earlier this week in the Gulf Coast League.

More from Cherington on Castillo, via Britton:

“He’s working hard, attitude has been great, soaking stuff in,” said Cherington. “We’re more interested in watching him integrate into the daily routine and get comfortable with things we’re asking him, and he’s done that very quickly.”

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉