Results tagged ‘ Luis Castillo ’

Almost Home …

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for contreras 01.jpgHola, amigos.

I’ve been blog-less since Friday morning because of a conversion to new blog software. But the conversion didn’t work as planned, which left me unable to post. I apologize for that. But we went back to the old software for the next 24 hours or so, which should allow me to post through tomorrow’s Grapefruit League finale at Bright House Field.

I want to mention a few things before the Zo Zone goes dark again:

The Phillies have not named a closer to replace Brad Lidge, but my guess is Jose Contreras gets the nod. Why? It’s just the feeling I get from being in camp the past few days. Rich Dubee also sounds like he wants to keep Madson in the eighth inning, where he has thrived. I asked Dubee yesterday if he thought Madson was better prepared to close this season than previous seasons.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “Ryan Madson is Ryan Madson. What did he do? Take a crash course in how to close? We’re in Spring Training here. … I think the game speeds up on him sometimes. He doesn’t get to the same comfort level. There’s a little anxiety there. The ninth inning is a little different than the eighth. There have been a solid eighth-inning guys that haven’t been able to pitch the ninth. One day they learn how to do it.”

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Castillo Is Here

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Luis Castillo finally arrived to Bright House Field. He spoke for roughly six minutes this afternoon. He is scheduled to take his physical today.

Here is some of what he said:

Q: Excited to be here?
A: Yeah, man. Anybody would be excited to play for the Phillies. I feel good. I’m happy to be here.

Q: You were supposed to be here yesterday. Yo’ure late. What happened?
A: I had a miscommunication with me and my agent, saying I had to report today. That’s what it was. More important for me, I’m here and I’m excited to be here.

Q: The Phillies said you must earn a job. Is that your understanding?
A: I’m healthy and I feel good. I know I have to prove I’m ready. I’m here to play baseball and help this team win some games.

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Amaro on Castillo: Communication Breakdown

Ruben Amaro Jr. said Luis Castillo isn’t here today as the Phillies expected because of a “little bit of a miscommunication with his agent.”

The Phillies expected Castillo to report to camp yesterday. Amaro said Castillo thought he needed to report to camp today.

“I was surprised this morning that he didn’t show up,” Amaro said. “It happens. We were a little confused. Evidently, he was confused, too.”

The Phillies had a physican at Bright House Field this morning, waiting to give Castillo a physical. Castillo never showed. Head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan called assistant general manager Scott Proefrock to find out way. Amaro said Castillo, who is driving to Clearwater from somewhere in Florida, is expected to finally arrive in Clearwater later this afternoon. He will take a physical tomorrow morning and is expected to play tomorrow against the Tampa Bay Rays at Port Charlotte.

Amaro said this does not affect Castillo’s chances of making the team or the team’s evaluation process.

“We’ll just have to evaluate him one less day,” Amaro said. “I just talked to him a couple minutes ago. He’s excited to get here. I talked to the agent and I talked to him. He’s looking forward to getting here.”

But if Castillo is leaving a bad situation in New York and is looking for a fresh start with just nine games to make an evaluation, shouldn’t he have made an effort to get to camp as soon as possible?

“I don’t know what happened with he and the Mets,” Amaro said. “That’s not my issue. What I’m concerned about and what I’m worried about is how he handles himself here in our camp as a Phillie.”

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Castillo Expected, But Not In Camp

This is not the first impression Luis Castillo needed to make.

He had nine games to earn a spot on the Phillies’ 25-man roster since signing a Minor League contract yesterday.

It’s down to eight, maybe seven.

The Phillies said yesterday morning they expected Castillo to arrive in Clearwater yesterday afternoon. When I stepped into the clubhouse this morning the Phillies had Castillo hitting second and playing second base today against the Blue Jays in Dunedin. He had a locker between Placido Polanco and Raul Ibanez. He had a number: 3. But about 30 minutes later Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin unpinned the lineup card from the bulletin board, took out some Wite-Out and and removed Castillo’s name from the lineup. He wrote Wilson Valdez‘s name in his place.

Why?

Castillo is not in camp.

He apparently could not make the journey from Miami in time, despite reaching agreement with the Phillies on Sunday night.

Interestingly, Mackanin later posted tomorrow’s lineup against the Rays in Port Charlotte. Castillo is not in that lineup, either. That does not mean he cannot play tomorrow. He could, but for the moment his name is not listed anywhere on the lineup card.

ESPN Deportes said Castillo is flying from Miami to Tampa, and could play in a Minor League game.

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Castillo Agrees to Minor League Deal

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Luis Castillo has agreed to a Minor League contract with the Phillies, although it is not finalized, a source said tonight.

The Mets released Castillo on Friday and the Phillies immediately expressed interest. Castillo cleared waivers this afternoon.

Interesting move.

The Minor League contract certainly suggests the Phillies are not prepared to just hand a Castillo a job. He will have to earn one, although there is not much time. Just 12 days remain before Opening Day.

If the Phillies had offered Castillo a Major League contract they would be on the hook for $414,000 of his $6 million salary, regardless of his ability to play. The Minor League deal guarantees Castillo even less money, which means if the Phillies feel Castillo cannot play they can let him go at little cost. Of course, if they decide he can help and place him on the 25-man roster they would have to pay him $414,000.

But repeat: If he cannot play the Phillies are on the hook for less than $414,000. How much less? I’m not sure, but it’s a low-risk, high-reward move the Phillies like to make. If he can play, bonus. If he can’t, buy-bye.

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Burrell Goes Yard, Phillies Don't

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Jayson Werth is one of the most patient hitters in baseball.

He entered last night’s game against the Rays averaging 4.48 pitches per plate appearance to lead the National League and rank second in the Majors. That is second out of 164 hitters who qualify for the statistic.

Here is the top five:

  1. Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox, 4.53
  2. Werth, Phillies, 4.48
  3. Luis Castillo, Mets, 4.37
  4. Nick Swisher, Yankees, 4.37
  5. Adam Dunn, Nationals, 4.34

So it seemed especially surprising when Werth swung at a first-pitch fastball from Rays right-hander Matt Garza in the fourth inning in a 7-1 loss. Garza had just walked Shane Victorino, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard to load the bases with nobody out.

The conventional wisdom is that Werth should have taken at least the first pitch, but he swung instead and hit into a 5-2-3 double play. Matt Stairs struck out swinging to end the inning.

“The thing that I was thinking about is that he just walked the bases loaded,” Werth said. “You’ve got two lefties behind me (Stairs and Greg Dobbs), so he’s going to try to get ahead. He’s going to try to get ahead with the fastball, and it’s probably going to be in. At least I was looking in. I got the pitch that I was looking for. The location. I just beat it into the ground.

“Would I do it again? Yeah, probably. I’d probably try to put a better swing on it. I went and looked at it (on video). It wasn’t that it was a bad swing. It was a good pitch. It was a strike. It’s what I was looking for. He beat me. I thought about it all game, and I really think if I had the same opportunity I would have done it again.”

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel offered his take.

“Sometimes he takes fastballs … he’ll take two in a row sometimes that look right down the middle,” he said. “I have no problem with him swinging at a fastball, but when you hit it you hit it like it’s 3-0. You hit through the ball. I’m sure he wasn’t trying to hit the ground ball to third, but I have no problem with him swinging at it. But where it went, it was just bad for us.

“As a matter of fact, if you want to know the truth, once he’s had at-bats and once he’s worked a guy an at-bat or two, I would like to see him swing more at first-pitch fastballs.”

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Werth had an explanation, and Manuel had no problem with it. Jimmy Rollins had no explanation why he flipped the ball to second base in the eighth inning instead of throwing the ball to first to get slow-footed Pat Burrell at first base.

“Usually, I just pick up and go to first automatically — just because the ball is hit soft towards the middle and I’m over on the pull side,” Rollins said. “I don’t know what I was thinking. I really don’t know. It’s an automatic play to go to first. … Every once in a while, those plays happen. And when it happens, it’s like, ‘Gosh, darn it.’”

Rollins is hitless in his last 19 at-bats. He is hitting .135 (7-for-52) with two homers and seven RBIs since he returned to the leadoff spot after hitting sixth June 7-9.

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