FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — It looks as if Rusney Castillo is feeling much better.
Castillo hit a three-run homer in his first at-bat of spring training, but the Boston Red Sox lost 11-5 to the Baltimore Orioles on Friday.
Castillo signed a $72.5 million, seven-year contract with Boston last August, and then hit .333 with two homers in 10 games for the Red Sox. The Cuban outfielder had been sidelined this spring due to a left oblique strain.
Castillo’s drive off a 2-1 fastball from Steve Johnson hit to the right of a yellow line on the wall separating doubles from homers.
“He made a pretty good impression,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
Castillo is scheduled to make his first start of the spring on Saturday when the Red Sox play the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton.
It had been a long wait for Castillo to play in a game. The Red Sox opened exhibition play on March 3. His first at-bat came more than two weeks into Grapefruit League play.
“I was obviously happy it turned out to be a home run but happier to go out there completely healthy and pain free,” Castillo said through a translator. “Felt really good and pain free.”
The Red Sox open the season April 6 in Philadelphia.
“That’s my main focus right now,” Castillo said. “Physically as of right now I’ll be ready.”
Castillo said he doesn’t feel pressure from his contract, but he misses Cuba and his family.
“It’s probably the biggest difficulty, probably the biggest adjustment to not have my family and obviously I miss them a lot,” Castillo said. “But the good thing is I’ve been able to come to a good organization. I’ve been able to keep my mind on playing baseball.”
Castillo was hitless in two minor league games on practice fields before playing in Friday’s big league game. He said he was just trying to hit the ball up the middle when he connected for the home run
“I was just trying to put a good swing on the ball,” he said. “But I felt I got that one today.”
Mookie Betts was 1 for 3 for Boston, and Hanley Ramirez had two hits, including an RBI single.
Orioles: Optioned RHP Mike Wright to Triple-A Norfolk.
Red Sox: 1B Mike Napoli was a late scratch because of right ankle soreness. He was replaced by Brock Holt. .. The Red Sox optioned LHP Eduardo Rodriguez and C Blake Swihart to Triple-A Pawtucket.
Orioles: LHP Brian Matusz pitched four shutout innings and allowed only two hits.
“I felt great to be able to get extended and to go that extra inning,” Matusz said. “To be able to finish strong and complete the four innings was a positive.”
Red Sox: RHP Justin Masterson pitched four innings and allowed one earned run. He walked two and struck out one while lowering his spring ERA from 6.48 to 5.11.
“He’s flashing pretty good velocity,” Farrell said.
Orioles: Manager Buck Showalter won’t say whether C Matt Wieters will be ready for opening day at Tampa Bay. Wieters was shut down on Wednesday, one day after he played his first game following Tommy John surgery last June.
“We’ve got to kind of start looking at this thing week to week as opposed to day to day. I don’t think that’s healthy for Matt’s mentality because he’s such a pleaser, and it’ll happen at some point,” Showalter said.
Wieters said he’s feeling better.
“We thought rest would be useful. We don’t really see it as a setback, we just needed to slow things down a little bit instead of trying to force through everything,” Wieters said.
Red Sox: DH David Ortiz sat out Friday because of the lingering effects of dehydration and a touch of a cold.
“I don’t anticipate him in a game over the weekend,” Farrell said.
RHP Koji Uehara is still sidelined with a strained left hamstring. Farrell isn’t worried about his availability when the season begins.
“Our target is sometime the middle of next week by time he gets back on the mound,” Farrell said.
Farrell added, “I fully expect him to be ready when the season begins.”
Orioles: RHP Miguel Gonzalez faces Twins LHP Tommy Milone in Fort Myers on Saturday.
Red Sox: Road game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton. RHP Joe Kelly is scheduled to start for Boston, and LHP Francisco Liriano for the Pirates.
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