In search of positive news, I went to Huntington Park in Columbus Friday night to watch Luis Castillo’s second rehab start. He was pitching for the AAA-Louisville Bats.
Castillo opened the year on the Injured List with shoulder soreness and pitched for the Dayton Dragons last week, needing 48 pitches to work 2.1 innings, walking three and striking out four. Castillo was stretched out more in the start I saw in Columbus.
Castillo quickly struck out the first batter he face with his changeup, getting Will Benson swinging. After Guardians’ top prospect Tyler Freeman reached on an error, Castillo got his second swinging strikeout before allowing an infield single. A line out to left that ended the threat allowed him to escape the jam.
Castillo seemed to be emphasizing working quickly and mixing his pitches. His fastball velocity was around 94 MPH and his off-speed pitches were in the 84-86 MPH range.
The second inning was Castillo’s easiest. He retired the side in order and recorded his third strikeout, getting David Fry swinging. Most notably, he was efficient, finishing the first two frames with just 26 pitches.
After allowing a one out single in the third, Castillo had his best stretch of the game. He got Freeman looking on a 96 MPH fastball–his highest-velocity pitch of the game. With two outs, he got Bryan Lavastida looking on an 87 MPH slider. Check out my video of that pitch here.
It was the second time Castillo had used his slider for a strike in the inning.
The fourth inning turned out to be Castillo’s final. He got a line out to start, but then walked three consecutive hitters before being removed. Castillo’s biggest struggle was locating his fastball.
Luis Castillo’s final line was 3.2 innings, 2 hits, 3 walks and 5 strikeouts. He threw 66 pitches, 38 for strikes, an improvement on his start in Dayton last week. There were no reports of Castillo’s shoulder soreness lingering.
The plan is for Castillo to have at least one more start before rejoining a Reds team that needs his presence in the starting rotation.