CINCINNATI – Diego Castillo cannot see the future, but he is very in tuned to his skill set and his body.
In talking with Castillo on Friday afternoon, he felt the turnaround to his season coming imminently.
“I feel comfortable,” Castillo said. “At some point, probably starting today, some good things are going to happen.”
Unfortunately, the Friday game was postponed. However, in the doubleheader the next day, Castillo went 3-for-7 with his second home run of the season.
Castillo got off to a hot start in Spring Training and forced the Pirates to keep him on the roster to start the regular season, if there was any debate to be made. In the Spring, Castillo hit six home runs and went 13-for-35 with 12 RBI.
However, when the bright lights turned on, Castillo admitted that excitement got the best of him. He said that this led to him being over-eager and chasing pitches he never normally would have.
He said that there were times that he was chasing a home run as well to get him going. Castillo said that his mind has slowed down and now he knows this current situation is the same baseball he has been playing his whole life.
“It feels the same [as in the Spring],” Castillo said. “I have been hitting the ball really well. I am just hitting the ball straight at the defense sometimes. To be honest, the couple first few games, I was trying to do too much, because I was all excited to be in the big leagues. After a few games, I fixed that and I feel comfortable again.”
One aspect of the game that did not take any adjustment for Castillo is his defense. Castillo has already played five different positions in 23 games. He has played nine straight games at shortstop entering Monday. There was also a stretch where he played six of seven games at second base. He has seen action at third, right field, and even appeared as a pitcher.
Despite being moved all of the field, Castillo has played well and said that he feels comfortable with fielding either a ground ball or a fly ball.
“With the defense, I feel great,” Castillo said. “All of my life, I have been doing well on defense. In the big leagues, I don’t feel any pressure or anything different [on defense] than in the minor leagues.”
This defensive versatility and willingness to play wherever he is asked has certainly caught the attention of Pirates manager Derek Shelton as well.
“Diego continues to do a good job,” Shelton said. “We’re asking Diego to play some shortstop, which is probably his third position and a little bit uncharacteristic. He has handled himself really well.”
Castillo fits the Pirates mold perfectly of a versatile defender, who can play all over the field. If the bat picks back up consistently, Castillo could be a fixture in the lineup every day.