Vizquel to tutor Castellanos on transition back to third
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Nick Castellanos' return to third base is going to get some help from one of the best shortstops to ever play the game.
Omar Vizquel, fresh off being named to the Tigers staff as first-base and infield coach, is scheduled to pay a visit to Castellanos sometime after the holidays to work with him at his South Florida home. Manager Brad Ausmus confirmed the visit, which Vizquel had previously revealed to a Venezuelan reporter.
"I talked to Omar about going down and seeing Nick prior to the beginning of Spring Training," Ausmus said. "Omar was going to get in touch with Nick and arrange that sometime shortly after the holidays. I don't know the specifics on it, but that's the plan."
When the Tigers hired Vizquel last month, the connection between him and Jose Iglesias, the Tigers' young shortstop, was obvious. Iglesias has drawn comparisons to Vizquel defensively while coming up in the Red Sox farm system, and Vizquel's desire to coach in the big leagues made the opportunity to use him as a mentor too good to pass up.
However, the chance for Vizquel to mentor Castellanos quietly makes sense. Detroit's top prospect, according to MLB.com, converted from third base to outfield midway through the 2012 season, has been taking ground balls at third base since the Prince Fielder trade opened up an infield spot last month.
Castellanos had never played the outfield before 2012. He was a shortstop in high school, then made his pro debut at third in 2011. Scouting reports on his defense at third had been mixed, with more praise on his arm.
"We think he'll move over there and do fine at third base," team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said. "He'll be more comfortable at third base than he will in left field, even though he hasn't played there in a while, because it's more of his natural position. He's an infielder."