castillo March 16

Spring Training Report: 3/16/2014

Francisco Castillo hit .282 in 45 games in the AZL in 2013.  (Photo: Brad Krause)

Francisco Castillo hit .282 in 45 games in the AZL in 2013. (Photo: Brad Krause)

SPEEDY CASTILLO LOOKS TO BUILD ON 2013 SUCCESS

Francisco Castillo is a switch-hitting middle infielder from the Dominican Republic. So the player he chooses to pattern his game after should come as no surprise.

“Jose Reyes”, Castillo said without hesitation. “I always liked the way he plays. And is always thinking and knows what’s up.”

Milwaukee signed the 5’11″ 170 lb. Castillo in 2010 and he made his professional debut in 2011 with the Brewers Dominican Summer League team. In 48 games in the DSL that season, he hit .245.

The following season, Castillo opened some eyes and took a step forward, batting .272 and scoring 34 runs in 53 games.

His most noteable attribute was his speed on the basepaths. His 30 stolen bases were good for fourth best in the league, and he was caught just eight times. Castillo’s improved play earned him a spot in the DSL All-Star game that summer.

Following his two seasons in the Dominican, the Brewers brought the youngster from Bonao to the states last spring. He spent the early part of the season in extended spring training and then played for Milwaukee’s team in the AZL when they’re season began in June. He got off to a scorching start, batting .359 in the month of June, and for the season he hit .282 and swiped 15 bags in 45 games.

Castillo has seen time at second base, shortstop and in center field, but in 2013 he settled in to position at second base, starting 44 of his 45 games there (his other start was as the designated hitter).

The 20-year-old is happy to play wherever the Brewers want him and should have a chance to move to Helena in 2014. For his part, Castillo is keeping his goals simple for the upcoming season.

“Just try to stay healthy” he said, “I have to work hard and help my team.”

BIG LEAGUIN’

The Brewers dropped a tough one this afternoon, falling to the Arizona DiamondBacks by a score of 6-5. Milwaukee carried a 5-3 lead in to the ninth inning, but Arizona rallied for three runs off reliever Zach Duke. Outfielders Khris Davis and Caleb Gindl each belted their second home runs of the spring to lead the Brewers offense. Second baseman Scooter Gennett went 2-for-4 with a double. The Brewers brought a handful of minor league players along for this one, and three players saw action. First baseman Nick Ramirez went 0-for-2 after replacing Lyle Overbay. Outfielders Tyrone Taylor and D’Vontrey Richardson also entered the game late, with Taylor going 0-for-1. Richardson did not get an at bat.

BACK FIELD NOTES

I took in the Triple-A and Double-A games at Peoria Sports Complex against the Mariners on Sunday. It’s tough to keep track of things when you’re bouncing from field to field and trying to get photos at the same times, but here are a few of my quick thoughts.

- After hearing yesterday that shortstop Hector Gomez had been dealt to the Los Angeles Angels, it was a surprise to see him in the starting lineup for Nashville this afternoon. It turns out that the trade was apparently reported in error, and the slick fielding Gomez is still a Brewer. Gomez looked good both in the field and on the bases. I’m glad to see he’s till in the Brewers organization.

- Both starting pitchers for the Brewers did pretty well today. Ariel Pena looked great. He was throwing hard, and throwing strikes. He mixed his pitches well and his breaking ball was really fooling Mariners hitters. Damien Magnifico’s line might not look as good, but he was a victim of a couple of infield hits that could have just as easily been outs.

- Outfielder Chadwin Stang was hit by a pitch in the arm, and wound up leaving the game. Whether his exit was part of a platoon and planned all along, or was due to injury remains to be seen, but it’s something to keep an eye on over the next few days.

- First baseman Hunter Morris hit the ball well several times, including a sacrifice fly and an RBI double that scored Josh Prince from second base.

- Reliever Jose De La Torre struggled late in the Triple-A game. He wasn’t hit all that hard, as a couple of flares dropped in for hits, but he struggled with his command and gave the Mariners some free base runners.

ON DECK

The Brewers will take on the Reds top four affiliates on Monday afternoon. The Nashville and Huntsville host Louisville and Pensacola respectively, with both games taking place at Maryvale Baseball Park. Brevard County and Wisconsin will travel to the Reds complex in Goodyear where Brevard will take on Bakersfield, while Wisconsin battles Dayton. Some of the Brewers rookie league players will be in action as well, as they host the Langley Blaze in Maryvale. Brewers pitcher Matt Garza is scheduled to start the Triple-A game, with Jimmy Nelson on the mound in the Double-A contest. Taylor Williams gets the start for Brevard County, and Tristan Archer will be hurling for Wisconsin. No word yet on who will be starting against Langley. All games are scheduled to start at 1pm.

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