Notebook: Bucs' Castillo Bemoans Wasted Season

By Biertempfel, Rob | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 23, 2007 | Go to article overview

Notebook: Bucs' Castillo Bemoans Wasted Season


Biertempfel, Rob, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


CHICAGO -- Jose Castillo is wrapping up a wasted season.

Once touted as the Pirates' second baseman of the future, Castillo has languished this year as a rarely used utility infielder. He lost the confidence of manager Jim Tracy last season and never regained it.

"I don't want to come back (in 2008)," Castillo said. "I'm ready to go somewhere they need me. I want to play. I'm waiting for next year."

The Pirates will grant his wish. Castillo is making $1.9 million this season and would figure to get a small bump in arbitration. The Pirates likely won't tender him a contract, making Castillo a free agent.

Even if the ongoing shakeup in the front office extends to the coaching staff, Castillo figures it's best if he gets out of Pittsburgh.

"If it's going to be the same thing as it was this year, I don't want to come back," Castillo said. "I don't know that a new general manager or a new anything else would help."

Last season, Castillo hit .253 with 14 home runs in 518 at-bats. But he was criticized by coaches and teammates for being out of shape and having lax work habits.

Castillo slimmed down in the offseason and did well in winter ball. But he's gotten just 210 at-bats and is hitting .238 with no homers.

Castillo has 31 fewer at-bats that Chris Duffy, who has been on the disabled list since the end of June.

"It's hard (to stay motivated) when you're not playing," Castillo said. "I'm not happy with the way things have gone. But if they need me, I'll play."

That doesn't seem likely to happen. On Friday, shortstop Cesar Izturis went down with elbow irritation and Jack Wilson (paternity leave) was unavailable. Tracy opted to use journeyman Matt Kata at short.

Guillen disses Wilson

Talk of shortstop Jack Wilson being traded to Detroit died down when general manager Dave Littlefield was fired. However, the Tigers still will be looking to add a shortstop this offseason.

Tigers veteran Carlos Guillen no longer has the range to play short. A few days ago, Guillen said he'd agree to make a permanent switch to first base -- if the team acquired "a really good" shortstop.

Enter Wilson? No way, Guillen said.

"I heard a lot of rumors about Jack Wilson," Guillen told the Detroit Free Press. "I don't know what his numbers are. He didn't win a Gold Glove. …

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