The Cincinnati Reds will be activating Luis Castillo today and sending him to the mound tonight to open up their 3-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers at 6:40pm ET. It couldn’t come at a better time, either, as Cincinnati’s rotation has been historically bad through the first month of the season.
When spring training was set to get started, Luis Castillo was the presumed #1 starter on the team. But soon thereafter he wasn’t pitching after having some shoulder soreness in Goodyear and he never pitched in a game during the Reds three weeks of games out in Arizona. For Castillo, he wouldn’t pitch in games at all until late April when he began a rehab stint in the minor leagues.
On April 24th he made his first appearance in High-A Daytton with the Dragons. His pitch count was in the 45-50 range on that afternoon. Luis Castillo struck out three batters in the first inning, working around a 1-out walk. He went 1-2-3 in the second inning despite a leadoff single (double play erased the runner) and he picked up another strikeout. But in the third inning he seemed to let things get away from him as he walked two batters and allowed a single while recording just one out before reaching his pitch count and exiting the game.
His next time out he moved up to Triple-A Louisville. Through the first three innings of the game he had allowed just two singles, walked no one, and he struck out five batters. But just like his first rehab outing, things started to get away from him in his final inning as his pitch count rose and after recording a ground out to begin the fourth, he walked three straight batters before exiting the game.
In his final outing, coming on Wednesday for Louisville in Indianapolis, Castillo had a pitch count to work with of 75 pitches. This time around there was no fading as the pitch count rose. The righty allowed just three hits and walked two batters in 4.1 innings while striking out seven batters and not allowing a run.
Not that the stats mean much of anything, but over his 10.1 rehab innings, Luis Castillo allowed just one run on seven hits. He did walk eight batters while also striking out 16. His velocity wasn’t quite as high as it usually is, sitting in the 93-95 MPH range, though he did touch higher at times.
Cincinnati’s starting pitchers have an ERA of 8.54. Opponents are hitting .316/.403/.562 against them this season – basically turning everyone into an MVP candidate at the plate. They are walking way too many hitters – 61 so far – and are just generally getting lit up. Castillo’s return will almost assuredly help bring those numbers down some, and hopefully kickstart some kind of rebound from one of the worst starts in Major League Baseball history.