Luis Castillo: Will He Finally Be a Fan Favorite In 2009?

Wendy AdairAnalyst IApril 2, 2009

PORT ST LUCIE, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Luis Castillo #1 of the New York Mets hits a single against the Florida Marlins during a spring training game at Tradition Field on February 26, 2009 in Port St Lucie, Florida. The Mets defeated the Marlins 9-0.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

Luis Castillo has been on the Mets for the last two seasons and has been out of action due to various leg injuries more often than not, and when he was put in game situations, he was fairly ineffective.  Even if he did start a game, by the fifth or sixth inning he was removed for one reason or another.

This type of effort, whether he complained himself out of the lineup or if it was strictly strategy by the manager, does not sit well with the Shea faithful.

Castillo is a Gold Glove infielder who does not hit for power but can hit a decent amount of gap doubles and he does have decent speed on the bases  Fans have not warmed up to him as he is known as a "slap shot" hitter.  His reputation from teammates on the Marlins and Twins was that he did the little things to help the team.

In 2008, he saw very limited playing time, and when he did play, he was booed at Shea Stadium and pretty much refused to play in front of the home crowd. The last weekend of the season, and the final games at Shea Stadium saw Ramon Martinez with the majority of playing time at second base.

Argenis Reyes played a great deal of games at second base and it was a terrific learning experience for him, and he is more popular with the fans at Shea than Castillo because he went out there and did his best every game.

When Reyes hit his first major league HR it was at Shea Stadium and the crowd went wild, thrilled that his milestone happened there and not on the road, that's how much of an impact he made on the team last year.

Castillo lost about 17 pounds this winter and is feeling great and is anxious to start the season and prove to his teammates and coaches that he is the player that he was predicted to be for them.

He says that he is 100% better physically and appears to be energetic and happy, which is a lot more than he has been the last year.

CitiField is now the home of the Mets, so they are all pretty much working with a clean slate, but the fans do not forget, hopefully he will give them more reason to cheer him than boo him in 2009 and beyond.