Mid-afternoon musings

2:50 CST (1:50–Yankee Stadium)

(Sitting here I was just handed a press release announcing Carlos Marmol will be replacing Kerry Wood here at the All-Star Game. That makes eight Cubs and manager Lou Piniella, adding to the already established club record.)

Sorry, last post took a while to get up there, but I just watched centerfielder Dexter Fowler-from the Colorado Rockies organization track down a for sure extra base hit and rob Ivan DeJesus of double.

Didn’t get a chance to track down Ivan Jr. himself, but watching him his body type and playing style is similar to his father, who happens to be the special assistant to Cubs manager Lou Piniella. He’s hard-charging and efficient with the glove, no wasted movement and wears No. 11.

Our lone representative at the Futures Game is Double-A Tennessee catcher Welington Castillo. He’s built like a cast-iron fire hydrant and possesses a smile as bright as his personality, and seems like one great kid. From the Dominican Republic, the 21-year-old Castillo has worked through a thumb injury and was questionable to play in the game. But according to him, the thumb feels fine.

“I’m just so happy to be playing here,” Castillo said. “So many players have been here before–Babe Ruth, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter…I’m very honored to be on this team.”

Castillo has been working hard on his English, going so far as to even request an English-speaking roommate this year, so he can work on his communication skills, something obviously crucial for a catcher.

“His English has improved tremendously,” Listach said. “He’s just a great kid and we like him a lot.”

He says he’s enjoyed working with Double-A pitchers Mitch Atkins and Mark Holliman.

“Holliman is very good, easy to catch,” Castillo said. “Atkins throws hard. Tall. Very tall.”

His hope is to be at Wrigley Field soon; he squeezed every ounce of advice out of Geovany Soto and Henry Blanco during spring training.

“I listened to them during spring training,” he said. “I learned from them.”

Castillo started for the World Team behind the dish today. In his first at-bat, he struck out on a questionable check-swing appeal at first.

By now, the USA team has managed just one hit off the World Team. Against right-hander Will Inman, whose funky low three-quarters delivery seemed to have the entire World Team befuddled, striking out the side, including Castillo. But I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of this young man soon.

–Mike Huang

ps. One side note of interest: It’s always interesting to see players we drafted at one point who for one reason or another didn’t sign, but then they show up in other organizations down the line or the Futures Game. Two examples–outfielder Matt LaPorta and catcher Taylor Teagarden of the US team,  both were drafted by us as high schoolers, but they went on to stellar college careers at Florida and University of Texas, respectively.

Just shows our scouting department absolutely knows talent when they see it.


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