Starlin Castro played second base for the first time in his major league career in August, a position change that allowed prospect Addison Russell to move back to shortstop. The Cubs traded Castro to the Yankees, and Castro’s new team intends to have him handle everyday duties at second base.
They want to give him more versatility, however, so they’re making him learn third base this spring, ESPN’s Wallace Matthews reports. Castro finds the new task challenging, saying, “It’s a lot to learn. I’m still learning to play second.”
The Yankees have approached Alex Rodriguez, who made a shortstop-to-third transition when he joined the Yankees in 2004, for his thoughts on the switch.
“I mean, there are so many things. The angles are completely different. There are so many plays that you don’t have at short — there’s bunting, cut off and relays, and obviously you don’t get to see what’s going on with the catcher. You’re just reacting.”
Starting third baseman Chase Headley has been bothered by back problems, so the Yankees want an adequate backup in case Headley isn’t fit to play. Shortstop Didi Gregorius has only very limited experience at third base (two games), so they might have had to ask the 40-year-old Rodriguez to play in the field otherwise.