SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — Welington Castillo has a short time to familiarize himself with Baltimore’s pitching staff before leaving Sunday to play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.
The 29-year-old takes over this season from Matt Wieters, who had caught for the Orioles since 2009 but left as a free agent and finalized a deal Friday with Washington.
“I think I’m going to have enough time to know them,” the 29-year-old Castillo said. “I know there’s a lot of guys in here. Day by day, I’m going to get to know them.”
Castillo had a similar experience when he was traded from Seattle to Arizona in June 2015.
“You’ve got to get to know them pretty quick,” Castillo said. “I feel that I’m going to be good and that everybody in here knows what to do, too, so it’s going to be easier for me.”
Castillo missed his first scheduled game with the Orioles on Saturday because of neck spasms and went 2 for 3 Sunday.
“He seems positive, upbeat, which is good out of a catcher. You want a guy who’s easy to talk to,” said Darren O’Day, whose sidearm motion can be difficult for catchers. “Just throwing to him, I can tell he’s going to steal strikes for us. He’s got a lot to learn, so he’s going to have to catch a lot of different guys.”
Castillo hasn’t caught O’Day and fellow relievers Brad Brach and Zach Britton yet in a game. Britton has been slowed by oblique discomfort and starter Chris Tillman hasn’t thrown yet because of shoulder soreness.
Showalter likes what he’s seen from Castillo.
“They have a lot of guys to pick to be there to catch for the Dominican, and they picked him, OK? That tells you a little bit about his stature, and I have respect for what he brings, too,” Showalter said. “He’s a humble kid. He’s a pleaser.”
Castillo will join new Orioles teammate Manny Machado on the Dominican team.
“Honestly, I was a little bit in between because I know I’m going to a new team, new players, new pitching staff,” Castillo said. “I’m going to have time to get to know them. At the same time, I want to represent my country. … “We are blessed because the Dominican Republic has a lot of good players, but the WBC is every three or four years, so who is going to guarantee me that I’ll still be in baseball in three or four more years? Why not go there and get the experience?”
Notes: INF Ryan Flaherty is out with a sore right arm. . 2B Jonathan Schoop left after Monday’s game to report to the Netherlands’ WBC team.
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