Luis Castillo has started just four of the last 17 games and said yesterday that he’s unhappy losing playing time to 20-year-old rookie Ruben Tejada, who’s hitting just .167 in 48 games overall this season.
On the bench last night for the fifth straight game, Castillo told the New York Daily News that he’ll talk to his agents about finding a team willing to make him a starter again:
I think we will talk to them about that. I need to be in a different kind of situation. I don’t know what they want to do. I want an opportunity to play, and if it is here, then I am happy. If it is somewhere else, then that’s what it is.
I thought I would be playing tonight, but I am not making the lineup. What is going on here? I don’t know what he’s doing. All I can do is the best I can. That’s how you try to play more, but I am disappointed.
Castillo has hardly played well enough this season to complain much about a lack of playing time, but it’s also easy to see why he’d be frustrated sitting in favor of a 20-year-old who clearly isn’t ready for the majors. Tejada is a promising young player, but he’s also just the latest example of the Mets needlessly rushing a prospect through the system and sending him to New York well before he’s ready. Among the 186 hitters in NL with at least 150 plate appearances this season, Tejada has the lowest OPS at .467.
Jerry Manuel admitted that Tejada isn’t ready offensively, but praised his defense and indicated that Castillo has indeed been relegated to a role player, saying: “Right now we’re probably going to try to see how far we can go with Ruben. It may not be a situation he likes, but it’s a situation he’ll have to adjust to.”
And, of course, if the Mets could trade Castillo they would have done so long ago. He’s making $6 million this season and is still owed another $6 million next year.
The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.
It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:
On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:
“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”
Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.
A couple of weeks ago our president wrote one of his more . . . vexing tweets. He was talking about immigration when he whipped out the phrase . . . “Easy D”:
No one was quite sure what he meant by Easy D. Was it the older brother of N.W.A.’s founder? The third sequel to that Emma Stone movie from a few years back? So many questions!
Baseball Twitter had fun with it, though, with a lot of people wondering how they could work it in casually to their commentary:
It wasn’t a scout who did it, but twelve days after that, a player obliged Mr. McCullough:
I have no more idea what Turner was talking about with that than Trump was. We’ll have to wait for the full story in the L.A. Times. But I am going to assume Turner was doing McCullough a solid with that one rather than commenting on the president’s tweet. Either way, I’m glad he made the effort.
And before you ask: yes, it’s a slow news day.