Luis Castillo made his spring training debut on Friday night against the Seattle Mariners. Castillo arrived late to spring training and has been about a week behind other pitchers, but looked right on schedule as he tossed 2.0 hitless innings with a walk and a strikeout.

“I felt good out there,” said Castillo. “I wasn’t 100% comfortable because it was my first time out. But it was a first start and I got a chance to go pitch against some guys.”

While it was only two innings of work, Castillo felt good about where he was able to locate the ball. That said, he did have a few pitches he would have liked to thrown a bit better.

“I felt like the location of my pitches was really good,” Castillo said. “Some of my offspeed stayed over the plate, but it’s the first start so we’ll keep working on it.”

Everyone in baseball knows that Luis Castillo’s best pitch is his change up. And he also throws his fastball in the mid-to-upper 90’s – his 96.7 MPH average fastball is the 5th highest among starting pitchers over the last two seasons. On Friday night those were the two pitches he was working with, throwing just one slider. He expects to utilize the breaking ball more as he gets more innings under his belt.

“I only brought it (the slider) out once, and it didn’t turn out for a strike so I kept it my back pocket. But I’ve been working on it a lot in bullpen sessions, so it’s still there. As we’re working on it, we’ll have better confidence in using that pitch as the season moves on.”

Brandon Finnegan is thankful

Prior to the game on Friday night, the Reds called Brandon Finnegan into the office. The news was good for the lefty. Cincinnati had officially invited him to join big league camp from the “early minor league camp” that he was initially a part of. That was one of 13 roster moves made on the afternoon.

“Honestly, I was shocked,” said Finnegan. “Getting called in usually this early is not a good sign. I was so happy, I’ve been through a lot the last few years and it sucks, but I just kept trying to work and work and get back to where I know I belong – and that’s on the big league field pitching for a big league team. I want to help this team win in any way I possibly can. Hopefully something comes of it, but I’m very, very thankful for them to give me this opportunity.”

On a night without his best stuff, Brandon Finnegan still performed well. The lefty tossed 2.0 perfect innings with two strikeouts to complete what had to be one of the better days he’s had in baseball in a while.

“Velo was a little down, but I made a lot of good pitches,” Finnegan said. “I made some bad ones, but the defense was placed in the right positions. Seager hit a ball really hard back up the middle and thankfully Dee (Strange-Gordon) was right there. Then of course Kyle Lewis did the exact same thing the next at-bat and Jonathan (India) was there. Other than that, I got some weak contact and I got a couple of strikeouts. It was a good day for not having my best stuff.”

No plan for India to play shortstop

Along with Brandon Finnegan, Jonathan India also got a call up with an invite to big league camp on Friday. The infielder has spent much of his career at third base and second base, but has had a few games at shortstop when he was in his first professional season. In 2019 with Daytona and Chattanooga he only saw action at second and third base. With his primary positions blocked by All-Stars Mike Moustakas and Eugenio Suárez, and at least for the time being shortstop being the spot up for grabs on the team, at least some speculation was out there as to whether he could get some reps at the position. Manager David Bell put that to rest on Friday.

“I don’t think he’ll play much short,” said Bell after Friday’s game. “I wouldn’t rule it out, but no current plans to play him at short.”

Things can always change, but if spring training isn’t the time to plan it when you have six guys vying for the position, and the future plan is for Jose Garcia to take over the position, then it just isn’t something that’s going to happen. There’s nothing wrong with that if the team doesn’t believe that India can play shortstop from a defensive perspective.

17 Responses

  1. Bred

    Last year did the FO misread India’s potential? Before last year, it seems the Reds had little faith in him and signed Moose. Now it sounds like he is ready and is blocked. Is it worth burning his service time this year as a utility player?

    • Steve

      Both moose and India can play at other positions if needed. I dont think they misread his potential but they saw a window to compete and took a shot.

  2. Ron

    I really hope Finnegan makes the team. I’m also hoping India makes the team. I would take him over Strange-Gordon any day of the week.

    • JayTheRed

      I’m starting to think that all 3 could make the team honestly.

  3. Stock

    I think Finnegan has a spot right now. I am not saying it is a lock but it is pretty solid.

    I think India could use 1 more year in the minors. In 2022 bring up him and Garcia, move Moustakas to 1B and Votto to DH.

    Senzel continues to impress

    • MBS

      Very good plan, I think people are getting a little too excited for India this season. It has shades of the Garcia hype last year, and Senzel hype the year before. We need to let these guys push their way onto a big league roster, not promote them because they are close, and had a good spring.

      Also, yes, Finnegan has an excellent shot, especially if Miley is not ready to go.

    • ClevelandRedsFan

      I agree. Start India in AAA and let him develop for one more year. If Moose, Votto, or Suarez misses any time, India will be right up. If he continues to impress, he may force the Reds to trade either Suarez or Moose to make room.

      The last time the Reds were truly a contender, they had a lot of homegrown cheap players: Votto (not really cheap), Bruce, Phillips, Cueto, and were able to sign a few free agents. I want to see the Reds get back to that model with guys like India, Senzel, Stephenson, Hunter Greene, Lodolo, etc. Sustainable winning starts with a good farm system.

      • VaRedsFan

        You forgot hoe the Reds operate. If one of those guys go down, India will come up and sit while Strange Gordon plays every day.

      • Ahimsa

        Haven’t read anything about Lodolo, does anyone know what the plan is for him?

    • BK

      I agree on India except I have doubt as to whether Votto will be ready on opening day. Given that the minor league season doesn’t begin until May, if Votto isn’t ready I can see moving Moustakas to 1B and starting India at 2B. When Votto returns, send him to the minors. We don’t need another top prospect sitting on the big league bench all year.

  4. Mark Moore

    India at AAA 2B, Garcia at AAA 2B … that sounds like a solid plan for 2022 to me. I’m with the crowd that says Moose moves to 1B and Votto to DH. I’m also one who believes the 2022 season is iffy at best given the need for the CBA negotiations to happen. Then again, I’m just a fan … what do I know?

    • Mark Moore

      Garcia at SS … think first, type second …

  5. Tomn

    I want to see India in Cincy. Yesterday.

    WTF, give him a shot at SS. We sign Senzel. “He can’t play SS.” Now we sign India. “He can’t play SS.” We have a guy who hits .220. “He’s our SS! or this other guy no one wants anymore. He’s our SS!”

    Err in favor of some offense. Just for once.

    • Slicc50

      I agree, no need to keep waiting until these guys are 25-26 years old to bring them up to the big leagues.

      • Roger Garrett

        I agree Slicc50 and throw in we have some aging players that are really more suited to be designated hitters in a league that doesn’t have it kind of defines our situation.The old get older,the young go for coffee and doughnuts and the beat goes on.Its not like me.I was old and expensive and a long comes younger and cheaper and well you know what happened.

      • TR

        If they need seasoning in the minors, fine. If not, bring the young phenoms up to the majors before their mid-twenties.

  6. BK

    Remarkable turnaround for Finnegan. I don’t ever recall seeing players “invited to spring training” during spring training before, but it validates what we’ve seen from both players this spring.