FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Rusney Castillo made a sliding catch in the 10th inning and threw out the potential tiebreaking run at the plate, then singled and scored in the bottom half to lead the Boston Red Sox to a 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday.
With runners at the corners and one out in the 10th, Coty Blanchard hit a fly ball down the right-field line. Castillo caught the ball in foul territory, popped up and threw to catcher Matt Spring, who tagged out Cade Gotta trying to score.
“A dynamic player,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Castillo. “If there are any questions if he could play right field he’s certainly answering those for us.”
Castillo then singled against Jake Thompson leading off the bottom half and advanced on Taylor Hawkins’ passed ball. He moved to third on Allen Craig’s fly ball and scored on Deven Marrero’s single.
Castillo signed a $72.5 million, seven-year contract with Boston last August. He was promoted to the majors on Sept. 17 and hit .333 with two homers in 10 games for the Red Sox.
Castillo, who primarily played center in Cuba, has been playing right in some spring training games.
“Compared to where he was last September, the 10 games he was with us, he continued to advance,” Farrell said.
For nearly a year before his American debut, Castillo had been limited to working out and didn’t play in games. Farrell has been impressed with his defense in right.
“He’s handled a number of balls,” Farrell said. “When we were over in Jupiter he handled a sinking line drive that was going to the line. His reads, his routes were fine there. Obviously, he has enough arm to play the position.”
Boston’s David Ortiz was 0 for 3 with a pair of strikeouts, lowering his average to .208.
Farrell said he isn’t concerned about the veteran slugger, who missed 10 days of spring games with dehydration and a cold.
“He had good swings ever after he missed six or seven days,” Farrell said. “Came right back even though he was down for some games there, still did work in the cage.”
Rays manager Kevin Cash liked the way Steven Souza Jr. hustled from first base to score on Evan Longoria’s first-inning single.
“Maybe the highlight of the day,” Cash said.
The Rays used seven pitchers, all relievers. Veteran Grant Balfour pitched a scoreless inning in his third spring outing.
Right-hander Clay Buchholz will start for Boston on opening day in Philadelphia on April 6.
“It’s definitely an honor,” Buchholz said.
Buchholz went 8-11 with a 5.34 ERA in 28 starts last year. The right-hander won 17 games for the Red Sox in 2010, and went 12-1 with a 1.74 ERA in 2013.
“This is his time,” Farrell said.
Rick Porcello will start Boston’s second game on April 8.
Rays: Brad Boxberger pitched one inning and retired the side in order, including a strikeout of Dustin Pedroia.
Red Sox: Brian Johnson pitched four innings and allowed two runs and six hits.
Rays: LHP Drew Smyly (left shoulder tendinitis) threw a bullpen session. Next up on his comeback will be facing hitters.
Red Sox: C Christian Vazquez, who has been sidelined with a sore throwing elbow, is scheduled to see orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday. Vazquez has caught only 26 innings this spring and last played March 13.
Vazquez is Boston’s starting catcher. Veteran catchers Ryan Hanigan and Humberto Quintero and prospect Blake Swihart remain in camp.
“Nothing will be omitted when we talk about how we’re going to start the season with the catcher position behind Ryan Hanigan,” Farrell said.
Rays: Home game vs. Baltimore Orioles. RHP Zach Davies will start for Orioles and RHP Matt Andreiese for Rays.
Red Sox: Home game vs. Twins. RHP Kyle Gibson goes for the Twins and RHP Justin Masterson for the Red Sox.
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