NPB 2021 news

Eagles poised to sign Castillo

The Rakuten Eagles of Japan’s Pacific League announced Saturday that former Boston Red Sox outfielder Rusney Castillo has agreed to join the club.

The 33-year-old Castillo has spent the bulk of his U.S. pro career at Triple-A Pawtucket with 99 games for Boston, the last coming in 2016. From 2015 to 2019, the right-handed-hitting Castillo slashed .293/.335/.425 for Pawtucket in 467 games.

Castillo, who played most of his 2018 season in center, might be a step up defensively from 32-year-old Stefen Romero, whom the Eagles did not re-sign after he slashed .272/.354/.539 for them in 2020, and could surpass Romero offensively — if he plays 130-plus games since Romero’s only downside has been being hurt without the chance to rehab during the season.

Eagles GM Kazuhisa Ishii said, he expects a hitter who can start rallies and make hay with runners in scoring position.

“He has mid-range power and can hurt you deep but does not live by the long ball,” Ishii told the Eagles’ website. “I expect his role will be to set the table and bring home runs. “

“Due to suspensions of new entries into the country, it’s highly likely now that he will not arrive in time for Currently, it is highly likely he will not arrive in time for camp. However, when he does get here, we dilligently support him so he can be ready to play as soon as possible.”

In addition to being the GM, Ishii will manage the Eagles this year as they seek to overtake the Orix Buffaloes in the race for the most-managerial changes title with their third skipper in three years.

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