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Castillo ends April on high note at plate

CINCINNATI -- With one month in the books, it appears catcher Welington Castillo has taken the positives that came out of his first full season in 2013 and applied them to this year, too.

Including Wednesday's game against the Reds, the 27-year-old catcher hit safely in 15 of 20 games played. He put together a six-game hitting streak from April 18-24, during which he batted .333 (8-for-24) and recorded two multi-hit games. He went 0-for-3 the next day to fall one game shy of tying his career-long streak, but after that, he hit safely in his next two.

Although Castillo insists his formula involves little more than keeping things simple and not doing more than he is capable of, he mostly credits regular playing time for allowing him to stay in a groove.

Last year, he played in 113 games, starting 107, before a knee injury cut his season short by nine games. He appears to be on pace to match or exceed that playing time this year.

"The more that you're facing pitchers, the more you know what he's throwing and what the ball's doing," Castillo said. "I think it's more playing time than anything. I feel really good at the plate."

Over a recent 13-game stretch, Castillo drove in 10 runs. And he's showing he can deliver when the pressure's on -- nine of his 11 RBIs have come with two outs.

"He's had really good approaches," manager Rick Renteria said. "He's been able to drive the ball to pretty much all parts of the field. I think he's trying to get himself in better hitting counts. Fortunately he's had a pretty good month where he's been able to do some things. They paid some dividends, obviously."

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.
Read More: Chicago Cubs, Welington Castillo