Results tagged ‘ Welington Castillo ’

Cactus Notes: Cubs reduce roster to 31 players

Mesa, Ariz. — The Cubs are closer to finalizing their Opening Day roster after sending nine players to minor league camp Thursday, trimming their ranks from 40 players to 31.

Left-handed pitchers Scott Maine and Travis Wood, righty Randy Wells, outfielder Dave Sappelt and catcher Welington Castillo have all been optioned to Triple-A Iowa. Infielders Edgar Gonzalez and Matt Tolbert, righty Blake Parker and catcher Blake Lalli—all non-roster invitees—were assigned to minor league camp.

Manager Dale Sveum announced his Opening Day rotation will consist of Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija, Chris Volstad and Paul Maholm.

Wood and Wells were in the rotation mix heading into Spring Training, but were outpitched by Volstad and Samardzija. Wood struggled in Mesa, with a 17.28 ERA in 8.1 innings, surrendering 16 earned runs and three home runs. Wells, on the other hand, didn’t give up a run in his 7.1 spring innings, surrendering just four hits.

Castillo spent much of the spring battling Steve Clevenger for the backup catcher position. Though the 23-year-old Castillo hit .324 in 37 at-bats in the preseason, including a pair of home runs, the Cubs ultimately liked Clevenger’s lefty, line-drive bat and poise.

The roster, which needs to be cut down to 25 by next Thursday, currently sits at 16 pitchers, two catchers, seven infielders and six outfielders.

Cactus Notes: Roster set for spring opener

MESA, Ariz.–Cubs manager Dale Sveum has settled on a lineup for the first Cactus League game of the season against the Oakland A’s on Sunday, and Cubs fans might be surprised to see Alfonso Soriano back in the leadoff spot.

“He asked me a couple days ago what I thought about batting leadoff and I said, ‘I’m open,’” Soriano said. “My last time batting leadoff here was two, three years ago. I said to the manager, I’m open to any decision he makes.”

Tomorrow’s lineup will feature all of the projected Opening Day starters, minus catcher Geovany Soto, who is still nursing a groin injury. Welington Castillo, one of the many talented catchers battling for the backup job, will start in his place.The rest of the lineup will look like this:

LF Soriano

3B Stewart

SS Castro

1B LaHair

CF Byrd

RF DeJesus

DH Baker

2B Barney

C Castillo

P R. Lopez

Cactus Notes: 3 catchers move into Sweet 16

MESA, Ariz.–Four more players moved into the round of 16 today in the Cubs bunting tournament, and the catchers are leading the way. Three backstops, Welington Castillo, Steve Clevenger and Blake Lalli, all advanced this week, and one may be becoming the prohibitive favorite. After knocking out Tony Campana in the first round, Clevenger continued to impress, ousting fierce competitor Bryan LaHair. The battle between Clevenger and LaHair was also a painful one, as both players were hit by a pitch from bullpen catcher Andy Lane. Pitchers Chris Rusin and Casey Coleman also advanced today.

While top outfield prospect Brett Jackson lost his battle with Castillo, he did manage the first 100-point bunt of the tournament. Players can score 100 points if they land a bunt in a small red circle on either side of the pitcher’s mound, but they have to “call their shot” first.

Farm Report: LaHair leads Triple-A All-Stars

Bryan LaHair has torn up Triple-A pitching this season. (Photo by Stephen Green)

Starlin Castro isn’t the only player in the Cubs organization representing his team in an All-Star Game. (Though he’s the only one with two stolen bases in one, entering in the fifth inning as a pinch-runner.)

Between Chicago and the club’s top four minor league levels, 27 players were selected to All-Star teams. Vine Line’s August issue covers Cubs farmhand experiences, from personal and developmental perspectives, at the various midsummer events.

Wednesday night’s Triple-A All-Star Game [MLB Network, 8 p.m. CT] showcases three Iowa Cubs on the Pacific League team: Bryan LaHair, Welington Castillo and John Gaub.

Starting at first base, LaHair currently shares the league lead in homers (25) and has an impressive line of .349 AVG/.418 OBP/.681 SLG. The Cubs acquired him as a minor league free agent after the 2009 season.

Marlon Byrd talked on his blog, The Byrd’s Nest, about his first-hand experience with LaHair and Castillo during his rehab appearances.

“His [LaHair’s] numbers are phenomenal. At some point, hopefully he gets a chance to help the team, whether it’s here or somewhere,” Byrd said. “Welington Castillo is looking good back there and still learning.” (more…)

Castillo making play to be Cubs catcher of the future

Post by Austin Hannon; photo by Stephen Green. Subscribe to Vine Line today.

Cubs fans have been hearing about catching prospect Welington Castillo’s toolset—including pop that could play at the big league level. But he may have reached another level a couple weeks ago.

On June 17, Castillo crushed a soaring homer that cleared Albuquerque’s 40-foot scoreboard, just the second time a player had cleared the giant structure in a game. According to an MiLB.com report, Castillo didn’t see where it had landed and couldn’t say if it was his longest ever—but teammates assured him it was indeed.

The June issue of Vine Line covered Castillo as one of the team’s three rising stars, along with shortstop Starlin Castro and five-tool center fielder Brett Jackson. The 24-year-old backstop has made great strides, owed partly to his willingness to learn in the game. Castillo has requested English-speaking roommates at every minor league level in order to sharpen his fluency and communication skills. (more…)

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