After the success of Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig, the Los Angeles Dodgers may be in the market for another. Puig finished second in the National League Rookie of the Year vote last season after hitting .319 with 19 home runs and 42 RBI in 104. He helped spark the Dodgers second-half surge that took them from last place to NL West champions.
According to Ben Badler of Baseball America, Dodgers’ general manager Ned Colletti was in attendance for another Cuban outfielder’s workout:
Dodgers scouts, meanwhile, were attending a private workout this week for Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, with Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti among those in attendance.
Colletti and the Dodgers seem to be in favor of players from the country, shown by the signing of Puig and infielder Alexander Guerrero and the scouting of catcher Yenier Bello. Castillo is a 26-year-old outfielder that can also play second or third base, who isn’t yet a free agent and hits and throws right-handed. In Cuba, he played five seasons withh Ciege de Avila Tigers before leaving Cuba. The outfielder/infielder hit .319 in his career with 51 home runs and 76 stolen bases in 360 games. His best season came in 2010-2011 when he hit .320 with 22 home runs, 95 RBI and 32 stolen bases.
Castillo played for the Cuban national team, as many expect him to draw interest from a few teams due to his versatility. The Dodgers already have a logjam in the outfield but could be interested in the fact that Castillo can play in the infield. Currently, Colletti is looking for another middle infielder to recover from the departures of Mark Ellis, Jerry Hairston, Jr., Nick Punto and Skip Schumaker. Michael Young has been contacted to return to the team and Chone Figgins just signed to a minor-league deal.
So far, the track record for Cuban players has been strong with the Dodgers and if Guerrero can play to his potential, then the team may be in play for more from the country.
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