Long Live Luis Castillo
Everyday I lie in wait. Squirming at the HDTV in my house which plays ESPN, believing that a day will pass without hearing the name of another New York Met pulling up lame or contracting a peculiar strand of the flu.
I have previously mentioned in posts that I believe somewhere in a secret study, in a room hidden behind the 2008 championship trophy, Phillies GM Ruben Amato Jr is dressed in robes, decorated in face paint poking at voodoo dolls in certain Mets likenesses.
How much longer before he sticks a needle in David Wright's back?
It's hard to believe that 53 games into the season, we've endured injuries to Oliver Perez (right patellar tendinitis), Carlos Delgado (right hip inpingement), Alex Cora (torn ligament in thumb), Jose Reyes (right calf tendinitis/partially torn hamstring tendon), Ryan Church (strained right hamstring), Angel Pagan (Strained right groin), Ramon Martinez (fractured left pinkie), J.J. Putz (right elbow surgery) and Billy Wagner (left elbow surgery) even though his injury took place last season.
As this transpired, a forgotten man—whose career was left for dead—has quietly resuscitated himself. That man is Luis Castillo.
Last year at this point, Castillo was the mockery of all fans and talk radio personalities alike. Believing he had somehow pulled a bait and switch during contract negotiations over Minaya. When in reality it takes two parties to sign a deal.
So with balky knee, Castillo performed below average under the weight of the contract and his own ever expanding body. He ran as if an invisible anvil were tied to his leg, played little league defense, and the ball which came off his bat rarely left the infield evidenced in a .245 batting average.
After the sorry campaign, he came to Omar Minaya's office and asked that he not be traded. Sighting the need to make things right.
He never did get traded, mostly, because Minaya had few serious takers. He tried. The talk of an Andruw Jones swap with the Dodgers was a hot topic this winter for a New York minute.
So he came to camp in better shape, shedding 17 pounds and the often painful grimace was replaced by a childish smile.
53 games into the season, Castillo has played 46 games. He batting .281 and sports an on-base percentage of .376. He's also managed a few triples (2), swiped a few bags (6), driven in 13 and been plated 30 times.
No one is making the case that Castillo is the best second baseman in the league and he certainly doesn't make one forget what could've been with Orlando Hudson. It's just my belief that after all the vitriol thrown his way maybe he deserves to be recognized for facing the music and playing well in spite of it all.
Who knows, the way things are going, Castillo may be the last Met standing.
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