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Rusney Castillo will make major league debut in 2014

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Rusney Castillo is still shaking the rust off in the minors, but Ben Cherington has made it clear that Boston's new outfielder will play in the majors before 2015.

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Red Sox general manager has reaffirmed the team's plans to have outfielder Rusney Castillo make his major league debut with the team before the end of the season, according to the Providence Journal's Tim Britton.

It's been nearly two weeks now since the Red Sox signed Castillo to a seven-year contract worth $72 million, but so far that time has been spent first on paperwork, and more recently on minor league at bats as the Sox try to get their new outfielder up to speed. Castillo has played in three games since August 31st, starting two games with the rookie-level Gulf Coast League team, as well as Double-A Portland's Wednesday night playoff game against the Binghamton Mets.

The reason for this slow build-up? Castillo's last real baseball action came in 2012. He's hardly been sitting around doing nothing since then, but there's certainly some rust to shake off both when it comes to in-game action and, as Cherington alludes to, the grind that is professional baseball:

"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."

Britton brings up Fall and Winter ball as options as well, and those make plenty of sense, particularly the former with its relatively high level of competition. For now, though, when Castillo makes his debut in the majors may depend on just how deep the Red Sox' upper-level teams go in the playoffs. While the Sea Dogs trail the Mets 1-0 in their best-of-five series, the Pawtucket Red Sox are up 1-0 on Syracuse in Triple-A.

One way or another, we'll be seeing Rusney Castillo in Boston before the season is over, but there's no reason to rush him so long as the minor leagues can provide opportunities to get at bats in in a low-pressure environment.