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Farrell offers guarded take on Castillo

8/22/2014

BOSTON -- Red Sox manager John Farrell had nothing new to report on the club's agreement with Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, who reached a seven-year, $72.5 million deal with the Red Sox on Friday.

"Nothing other than what everyone has read," Farrell said. "I'm aware of the reports. There are still some administrative things that he would have to go through before anything is announced officially, so until that time I'm kind of like everyone else, I've read the reports."

Farrell has seen and read the scouting reports on the 27-year-old outfielder.

"Above-average speed. Can play center field or right field. What kind of power? What kind of average? Obviously our scouts liked him enough, if the reports are true, that's a significant investment. It's an exciting, athletic player by all accounts," Farrell said.

A source told ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes that Castillo will play for the Red Sox at some point this season. He's expected to have a physical Saturday at Fenway Park. Asked when Castillo could play this season, Farrell said he did not know.

"I have no idea where that would be right now," he said. "He's not signed by us, yet."

When Castillo does make his major league debut, Farrell said, despite the outfielder's lack of experience in the big leagues, it would not be complicated working the newest Red Sox into the lineup this season. Castillo, 5-foot-9, 185 pounds, played five seasons for Ciego de Avila in Cuba.

"We're going to have a pretty good read on what his capabilities are based on where he's played in the past," Farrell said. "There's probably a growing level of comfort with these types of situations as the next [Yoenis] Cespedes, or [Jose] Abreu, or Yunel Escobar, those types of players start to pave the way for future players coming over, so you get a little bit more of a known commodity with a guy who has never played in the major leagues before. You're not always going to project to the exact number, but you're going to get a better read and feel on what they might be able to do."

Since the Red Sox are in the basement of the AL East and out of playoff contention, Castillo will have the opportunity to get his feet wet in the big leagues this September and not have to wait until spring training.

"Depending on a number of things yet to take place, if the ability to see a guy in September exists, which I don't know yet, it would be a rarity and certainly would be helpful in him getting to know, whether it's a given ballpark, a given city, all those things can only help," Farrell said.

Other Cuban players have made a quick transition and impact in the majors the past few seasons, including Yoenis Cespedes, who began his career with the Oakland Athletics before coming to Boston via trade July 31, while the Chicago White Sox's Jose Abreu and the Los Angeles Dodgers' Yasiel Puig have also enjoyed great success. The Red Sox are hoping Castillo fits into the same category.

"Yeah, that's the one thing that stands out more than anything. When you look at Yoenis' performance right away in Oakland, Abreu in Chicago, and hopefully the same holds true for every other player that comes over," Farrell said. "I think when you look at how many games they've played on the international stage, and the talent in which they play against, plus just by nature they're seemingly a very strong group physically and they're able to transition and handle the wear and tear of a long season."

Cespedes briefly saw Castillo play in Cuba.

"I don't know him all that well. We overlapped for about two years, playing in Cuba, so I was able to see him play a good amount," Cespedes told ESPNBoston.com earlier this week. "As far as impact here, or how he would be here, I can only speak to what he was in Cuba, and in Cuba I would've put him at the same level as Puig, and look at what Puig's done here. So that could materialize, it could not, but that's what I see so far."

• After leaving Thursday's game due to a family medical emergency, Cespedes returns to the lineup Friday against the Seattle Mariners and ace Felix Hernandez. A source told ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes that Cespedes' mother was transported from Fenway to Massachusetts General Hospital due to high blood pressure.

"Anything other than the situation in which he left for last night has improved to a point of him returning and he's in the lineup," Farrell said. "Other than that, it's still a personal, private matter and that's probably to the extent I'd say anything."

• Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli will miss his third consecutive game due to back spasms. According to Farrell, Napoli is expected to return to the lineup on Saturday against the Mariners.

"Continues to improve," Farrell said. "He had some mid-back muscle spasms after Game 3 with the Angels. He's responded well, particularly in the last 24 hours and we're hopeful that he'll be back in the lineup, projects to be back in the lineup tomorrow."

Napoli is hitting .266 with 15 homers and 45 RBIs this season.