NEW YORK — At 21, Triston Casas is about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime.
After playing for Double A Portland on Thursday, Casas joined up with Team USA in North Carolina on Friday to begin preparations for the Olympics.
Team USA is scheduled to play three games against the Collegiate National Team starting Sunday, then leave for Tokyo on Wednesday. Their first game will be against Israel on July 30.
For Casas, this all started in spring training when Red Sox minor league coordinator Darren Fenster, one of Team USA’s coaches, asked the first baseman if he would be interested in playing.
Casas, a first-round pick in 2018, isn’t quite ready for the majors but was the kind of player Team USA wanted to mix in with veterans such as Todd Frazier and Edwin Jackson.
“I jumped on it as soon as possible,” Casas said Saturday. “Representing the country doing anything — especially the thing I love the most, playing the game at the highest level — is going to be something special. It means a lot to me.”
Team USA manager Mike Scioscia, who played and managed 32 years in the majors, believes the Olympic experience is something Casas will draw on as his career progresses.
“It starts to touch the level of focus you’re going to need to get through a major league season, which is a grind, as well as the pennant race and playoffs,” Scioscia said.
“You need to be able to relax and perform and Triston has shown he can do that. This experience is very unique. I think that the guys that are on this team are going to bring a little gift back to wherever they go play — an understanding of what they need to do in big games.”
Casas never had aspirations to be an Olympian. Baseball was dropped from the Games in 2012 and 2016. The United States hasn’t won a gold medal since 2000 in Sydney.
“It’s been a while since baseball has been in the Olympics,” Casas said. “Hopefully we give the fans a good show, have a good time and hopefully win gold.”
At the same time, Casas will be playing with 14 teammates that have major league experience.
“Playing in Double A right now is a good challenge,” said Casas, who has a .777 OPS in 46 games for Portland. “I’m facing a lot of good pitching. But the atmosphere here will be a little different.
“The talent level will be just as good. I think it’s going to be a good challenge for me to see what I have.”
Team USA altered its roster after getting through the qualifying round in May. Two players from that team, Red Sox outfielder Jarren Duran and Phillies utility player Luke Williams, are now in the majors.
Duran played his first game for the Sox on Saturday. He singled in his first at-bat, driving a fastball from Gerrit Cole to center field in the second inning. Duran later scored on a single by Christian Arroyo. He finished 1 for 2 with a walk in a 3-1 loss.
“We would love to have him. Jarren was such a big part of our team, just like Luke was,” Scioscia said. “These guys are great kids, great young men, and played great. But their ultimate goal was to get to the major and we are thrilled for them.”
Casas will be hitting in the middle of the lineup in Tokyo. Scioscia expects that will be the case with the Red Sox in a few years.
“Playing in Boston, and Triston wants to play in Boston, it’s a town that’s very demanding of how you’re going to play baseball,” he said. “I know he’ll be ready for it,” he said.
Bogaerts gets a break
Xander Bogaerts was out of the lineup against the Yankees with a sore left wrist. Manager Alex Cora had been planning to give him a day off soon regardless after playing in the All-Star Game.
“He was sore after the game,” Cora said.
Rafael Devers and J.D. Martinez will be getting days off, too.
“Obviously the traveling and everything that goes on with the All-Star Game is a lot,” Cora said.
Triple A Worcester was rained out in the second inning on Saturday. Danny Santana reached on an error before the game was suspended.
Santana, who is on the injured list with a left quad strain, has had five plate appearances with the WooSox and could be activated on Sunday or Monday.
The Sox acquired Double A righthander Victor Santos from the Phillies to complete the Jan. 18 trade of infielder C.J. Chatham. Santos, a 21-year-old from the Dominican Republic, is 18-15 with a 3.22 ERA over 63 games since 2017. He opened the season in the bullpen with Single A Jersey City before going 1-1 with a 3.05 ERA as a starter in Double A Reading. Santos was described by one scout as a strike-thrower with the possibility of making it to the majors … Chris Sale threw in the bullpen in Fort Myers and remains on track to start for Double A Portland on Tuesday in what would be his second rehabilitation start … Connor Seabold threw three scoreless innings against Minnesota in a Florida Complex League game. He allowed two hits and struck out five without a walk. Seabold is coming back from elbow inflammation that sidelined him before the season started. He is expected to join Portland soon … Righthanded reliever Austin Brice, who was designated for assignment on Friday, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple A Worcester. Brice has a 6.21 ERA and 1.53 WHIP in 34 games for the Sox over the last two seasons.