In a bit of a surprise, the Cardinals gave Castro a major league contract and a spot on the 40-man roster. This is in spite of the fact that he has no major league experience and would seem to be down the pecking order for a call to St. Louis.
The Pimentel, Dominican Republic native moved to the Cubs, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay organizations in 2009, being released twice more before becoming a free agent in the fall. Castro briefly pitched in independent ball and then the Mexican League in 2010-11 and the Japanese Pacific League in 2012.
The Memphis Redbirds saw Castro this past summer as he was 8-5 with a 3.48 ERA in 25 games, including 19 starts, for the Dodgers' Albuquerque club in the Pacific Coast League. He appeared in one spring training game for the Dodgers in 2013, allowing one run in two innings of work. Also last spring, Castro pitched for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic and competed in the 2011 World Cup.
The 5-foot-11, 200-pounder is currently pitching for Las Aguilas Cibaenas of the Dominican Winter League, where he is teammates with Jose Almarante, Jermaine Curtis and soon, Carlos Martinez. Said to be able to touch the mid-90's with his fastball, Castro has a 4-3 record and a league-leading 1.29 ERA in eight starts.
Over his career, Castro is 36-23 with a 3.75 ERA in 502 professional innings. He fanned 367, but has control issues at times, having walked 184.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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