Rockies prospect Castro shows off fastball

Righty acquired in Troy Tulowitzki trade last year

March 5th, 2016

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Miguel Castro finally gave a preview Saturday of what the Rockies can expect when he's healthy.

Castro, 21, joined the Rockies last season in the Troy Tulowitzki trade with the Blue Jays but was shut down after five games because of back pain. He showed up for Spring Training weakened from a bout with pneumonia he suffered at home in the Dominican Republic. The Rockies slowed his workload early, but Castro displayed deceptive arm angle and movement on his fastball during Saturday's live batting-practice session

"I see the other guys throwing already and I'm a little bit backed off, which has been hard, but I'm ready," Castro said. "I feel good, and I want to give 100 percent of what I've got. I want them to see Miguel Castro."

Last season, Castro was an early member of the Blue Jays' rotation for five starts and 13 appearances total, and went 0-3 with a 6.11 ERA. But when a guy had not pitched higher than Double-A before last Opening Day, it's as instructive to look at raw ability. He averaged 96 mph on his four-seam fastball and 91.3 on his sinking two-seamer.

On Saturday, the fastballs, as well as his slider and changeup (on which he says he can add and subtract velocity as needed), stayed low. The four-seamer was particularly intriguing to non-roster catcher Jackson Williams.

"With the height he has [listed at 6-foot-5] and the kind of angle he gets, he's got one of the fastballs that out of his hand guys think is going to be down, then all of the sudden he's got that carry through the zone and it stays at the bottom of the strike zone," Williams said. "It has some life on it."

The Rockies see Castro strictly as a reliever, although his history as a starter is an indication that he could be used in a multi-inning role.

Worth noting:

• Rockies outfielder Gerardo Parra left Saturday's 9-5 Cactus League victory over the Padres with a heel contusion. More concerning was right-hander Jairo Diaz, who left with what the the Rockies called "right elbow discomfort" after walking three and giving up three runs in his lone inning. Both will be re-evaluated on Sunday.

• Rockies non-roster lefty Yohan Flande, who went 3-3 with a 4.74 ERA in 19 games (10 starts) last season, threw a perfect two innings with four strikeouts in Saturday's win. Flande, 30, who has seen Major League time the last two years, unveiled a curveball that could help him in the competition for opportunities.

"That's a really good sign for him, because he's been a fastball-changeup guy," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "To add the breaking ball and have the confidence to use it, that's real encouraging."

Even after being removed from the roster after last season, Flande said, "I didn't let that bother me. I wanted to be here."

• Left-hander Jorge De La Rosa will make his Cactus League debut on March 10 against the Reds and righty Chad Bettis will make his first spring start the next day against the Indians, pitching coach Steve Foster said.

Holding De La Rosa and Bettis, the clear top two pitchers in the rotation, out of game action and having them face hitters was simply a matter of being able to see the younger prospects in Cactus League games.

The Rockies have scheduled one 'B' game, Sunday against the D-backs, where righties Antonio Senzatela and German Marquez will pitch, but otherwise guys have been used in main-field games. Righty Jeff Hoffman and lefty Kyle Freeland, two high first-round picks considered on the fast track, will make Spring Training debuts Sunday against the Reds at Goodyear, Ariz.

"I want to see guys compete in 'A' games if at all possible; that's it," said Foster, who said he has seen other teams have held out their top pitchers early in the spring.

• Right-hander David Hale, delayed by a right hamstring strain, reported feeling good after a 25-pitch bullpen session on Saturday. Hale, hoping to compete for a rotation spot but able to pitch in relief, has yet to appear in a Cactus League game.