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Castro, 32, eyes big league debut with A's

Oakland options Alvarez, designates Hassan for assignment
MLB.com @JaneMLB

SEATTLE -- The A's ongoing search for an effective mix of bullpen arms led them to call up Angel Castro in advance of Friday's series opener in Seattle. The right-hander's journey to join the big league club was a long one.

Castro is in his 10th professional season -- including seven with six different Major League organizations, along with stints in Japan and the Mexican League -- and will seek his big league debut at age 32 with the A's, who optioned R.J. Alvarez to Triple-A Nashville to make room on their 25-man roster.

SEATTLE -- The A's ongoing search for an effective mix of bullpen arms led them to call up Angel Castro in advance of Friday's series opener in Seattle. The right-hander's journey to join the big league club was a long one.

Castro is in his 10th professional season -- including seven with six different Major League organizations, along with stints in Japan and the Mexican League -- and will seek his big league debut at age 32 with the A's, who optioned R.J. Alvarez to Triple-A Nashville to make room on their 25-man roster.

To open a spot on the 40-man roster, the A's designated outfielder Alex Hassan for assignment.

"We're trying to find some guys that can throw the ball over the middle of the plate a little bit more consistently and get some outs, and obviously the organization has shown that they want to try to find the right group," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "You always feel good about a guy that's been at it that long and gets his first crack at the big leagues."

Castro posted a 3.79 ERA in six games, including two starts, with Triple-A Nashville. He struck out 20 batters and walked just three in 19 innings, and opponents were hitting just .211 against him -- numbers that specifically stood out to an A's club that has watched its relievers average 3.84 walks per nine innings, fourth highest in the American League.

That could explain the A's decision to try out Castro before switch-pitcher Pat Venditte, who has a 1.10 ERA in eight appearances for Nashville but has walked eight in 16 1/3 innings.

Castro said he immediately phoned his wife to alert her of the news, which was relayed to him by Nashville manager Steve Scarsone following a prank that had led Castro to believe he was in trouble when called into his office.

Instead, Scarsone said, "I'm just kidding. They called me and told me you're going to the big leagues."

"I'm very happy after all this time hard work has paid off," said Castro, with help from a translator, teammate Fernando Rodriguez. "I thank God I was given this opportunity to be here.

"I always had that idea of being here and never lost faith. I would pray to God and just kept that faith knowing I would be here."

Alvarez departs with a 13.00 ERA, having allowed five runs in three innings over four outings in his second stint with the A's this year. Melvin's departing message to the hard-throwing righty: "Throw strikes."

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB.

 

Oakland Athletics, R.J. Alvarez