Pirates Notebook: Castillo requests trade
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Jose Castillo's agent has asked the Pirates to try to trade his client if he cannot play regularly.
Castillo, the team's everyday second baseman for three years before becoming a spare part this season, has informed management through agent Scott Pucino that, if he is not going to see regular duty, he would prefer to be sent elsewhere, two sources intimately familiar with the matter confirmed.
Neither of the sources was Castillo, who has quietly maintained all season that he has no issue with the Pirates other than wishing to play more often.
Pucino was unavailable for comment.
Pirates general manager Dave Littlefield generally does not discuss such internal fare, and this is no exception.
Asked yesterday if Castillo has approached him about a trade, Littlefield replied, "Those specific things, I don't talk about publicly, anything related to a conversation with a player."
He did acknowledge Castillo's dissatisfaction with being on the bench.
"With any player, they're very competitive. Everybody wants to play," Littlefield said. "They always strive for that, and I respect that."
Castillo, 26, is batting .188 with one double and no RBIs. But the most glaring statistic is his 32 at-bats, fewest of any current position player other than Nate McLouth (31) and Don Kelly (19). His most recent start came April 25, and he has made only six plate appearances in the 16 games since then.
The Pirates have had Castillo shagging flies in an attempt to expand his versatility -- he plays the outfield every winter in Venezuela -- but that has yet to carry into a game. Kelly is the backup shortstop, so Castillo's only chance of playing would appear to be if second baseman Freddy Sanchez or third baseman Jose Bautista were injured.
Littlefield said the Pirates still see value in Castillo.
"He gives us good depth on the bench," he said. "He provides versatility in the infield, and he's played outfield in the winter. But, with Sanchez and Bautista, those are guys who are doing good jobs at their positions."
The Pirates offered Castillo in trade talks in the offseason, apparently thwarted by a lack of takers. It is not known if they have engaged any teams in more talks yet, but the New York Mets have been searching for a second baseman since losing Jose Valentin to a knee injury April 28. He could miss as much as half the season, and his replacement has been Damion Easley, 37.
Francoeur's bold call
Back in spring training, Atlanta outfielder Jeff Francoeur predicted that "Pittsburgh's getting a great player" in his good friend, Adam LaRoche. He also forecast some terrific offensive totals.
And now that LaRoche is off to a sub-.200 start?
"He will end up hitting .270 here with 25-30 bombs. I still swear by it," Francoeur said in the Braves' clubhouse yesterday. "Hopefully, they'll give him a little time. I think he was trying to do so much right away because everybody made such a big deal about him coming here. But I stand by it: It's going to be him and Jason Bay carrying that team. Adam's a heck of a player, and this city's lucky to have him."
Reliever John Wasdin, eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list in six days, is rehabilitating his sprained thumb in Bradenton, Fla.
The Pirates' Aug. 12 game in San Francisco has been moved up one hour, to 3:05 p.m., to allow the teams more time to travel to Pittsburgh for their makeup doubleheader the next day.
INDIANAPOLIS (19-14) lost to Ottawa, 7-6. LHP Shane Youman (1-4, 5.35) allowed five runs and six hits in six innings. He struck out one and walked four. RHP Dan Kolb (1.26) was charged with the winning run in the ninth on one-third of an inning of relief. CF Nyjer Morgan (.312) went 3 for 5 with a double and two RBIs. SS Brian Bixler (.346) went 2 for 3 with an RBI and a steal.
ALTOONA (15-15) lost at Harrisburg, 6-1. RHP Yoslan Herrera (0-3, 6.00) allowed one run and four hits in six innings. He struck out five and walked two. 3B Neil Walker (.274) went 2 for 4 with a double. CF Andrew McCutchen (.191) went 1 for 3 with a double and a walk.
LYNCHBURG (12-18) lost to Winston-Salem, 12-2. RHP Derek Hankins (3-2, 4.94) allowed seven runs in two-plus innings. 1B Jason Delaney (.337) went 2 for 3 with a double and a walk.
HICKORY (13-19) lost to Delmarva, 7-2. RHP Brad Clapp (3-4, 7.08) allowed one run in five innings. SS Angel Gonzalez (.287) went 3 for 4 with a double.
First Published May 11, 2007 11:07 pm