In eight days, the Mets begin a new season with a new bullpen, a new bench, and a new fifth starter. All else remains the same for the most part, including at second base where Luis Castillo returns for the second year of his four year deal.
Nobody could have thought that Castillo would be back in 2009 after a season to forget last year. It was not for a lack of trying, as Omar was intent on moving Castillo to anyone willing to listen, but there were absolutely no takers for the former All Star and one-time premier leadoff hitter.
Jim Baumbach of Newsday got together with Castillo, who is hell bent on erasing the lingering memories of last year.
“I’ve tried to put my mind past it and forget everything from last year. I feel like I’m ready for the season, and I want to keep going,” Castillo said. “Last year was a tough year for me. I don’t want to think about last year because I know I wasn’t 100 percent. My knees bothered me, my hip. And I was fighting it. I was fighting it every day.”
He showed up to camp in better shape and a new attitude, and his stats have shown marked improvement thus far.
“When I came on the first day of spring training, I expressed to all my teammates that, you know, I’m a different guy, I feel 100 percent. I want to show I can be a good player. Let me tell you something,” Castillo said. “I’m so excited because I feel way different from last year. Now I can come to the ballpark knowing that I can play, I can do a lot of things, do the things I can do.”
Castillo is batting .273 this spring, but his .467 on-base percentage has opened a lot of eyes and he leads the team with 15 runs scored.
Everyone deserves a second chance, especially someone with a resume like Castillo’s.