It began on December 11, 2013. Coming off a decent season at the Triple-A level for the Los Angeles Dodgers and a strong winter ball campaign in his native Dominican Republic, the 31-year-old career minor leaguer was signed by St. Louis to a surprising major league contract.
On the 40-man roster, Castro reported to Cardinals big-league camp, but was rocked and quickly re-assigned to minor league camp. Before spring training ended, Castro was removed from the 40-man.
Opening the 2014 regular season in the rotation of Triple-A Memphis, Castro continued to struggle, with a 4.81 ERA in April. He picked up his pitching considerably in May (1.67) and June (3.34).
However, after 14 starts, Castro was moved to the Memphis bullpen in late June, squeezed out by the return of Tyler Lyons from the disabled list and his optioning to Triple-A. At the time, Castro’s record was 7-4 with a 3.38 ERA. He had fanned 50 and walked 22 in 77 1/3 innings.
Oddly, after just four relief appearances, Castro was named to the Pacific Coast League All-Star team on July 10 as a replacement player for promoted Brewers pitcher Jimmy Nelson.
Since moving to relief for Memphis, Castro had been shelled for 13 earned runs in 17 innings (6.88 ERA) over 12 outings. The damage included four home runs with PCL batters hitting a collective .329 against him. Castro was one of two in save opportunities and allowed two of six inherited runners to score.
The Redbirds already have seven starters on the roster, and with Castro ineffective out of the pen, the Cardinals apparently decided to end the relationship now.
Currently in his ninth professional season, the former Western Oklahoma State Community College hurler is joining his sixth organization (Dodgers, Rays, Phillies, Tigers).
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