Since being acquired by the Arizona Diamondbacks in a trade with Seattle earlier this month, catcher Welington Castillo has done very well at the plate.
The 28-year-old is batting .255 with four home runs and 11 RBI.
The 11th was a big one. Castillo’s RBI double in the eighth inning off of Los Angeles reliever Pedro Baez scored Jake Lamb and broke a 6-6 tie. The Diamondbacks went on to win 10-6, breaking a seven-game losing streak to the Dodgers.
Castillo’s double hit midway up the wall in left center. When it left the bat, he thought it was gone.
“Yeah, I hit it good,” Castillo said. “I hit it well and I thought it would go out, but it didn’t. I’ll take the double with the RBI.”
The Dominican native is dialed in at the dish, driving in 10 runs over his last six games. But he knows his value is what he does while he’s crouching behind home plate in catcher’s gear.
“I have a job to do behind the plate with these pitchers,” he said. “I know I can hit a little bit but when I go 0-for-4, I don’t really think about it because I have a job to do.”
While the catching position has been greatly affected by injuries to starter Tuffy Gosewisch and presumed backup Oscar Hernandez, the acquisition of Castillo has settled things in the interim.
“He’s got a lot of strength,” D-backs manager Chip Hale said. “He’s got power and in our ballpark, he’s got the ability to hit it out anywhere. We expect him to hit.”
Hale said the organization had their eye on Castillo as early as spring training. After serving as the Chicago Cubs’ primary catcher for two years, there weren’t many at-bats to be had after the D-backs traded Miguel Montero to the Cubs. Castillo managed only 43 at-bats in 24 games before being dealt to Seattle, where he played in only six games before being traded again.
Opportunity, according to Castillo, is the key.
“As soon as I got here, they told me I was going to have the opportunity to play in at least two games a series,” he said. “It’s really good knowing you’re going to play.”