Castellanos, Hage to Play Florida Winter Ball

Two St. Louis Cardinals prospects sign to play in new Florida Winter Baseball League.

The Miami Diamantes of the Florida Winter Baseball League announced the signings of Alex Castellanos and Joey Hage for the 2009 campaign.

Castellanos, 23, was a 10th round (305th overall) selection by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2008 draft out of Belmont-Abbey College, NC. After signing with the organization he was assigned to Rookie-Level Johnson City to begin his professional career and was promoted to Short-Season Single-A Batavia in late-August. Over both levels, he hit .295 with 16 doubles, six triples, seven home runs, 35 RBIs, 110 total bases, 48 runs, ten walks, 20 stolen bases, and 52 strikeouts in 59 games. Castellanos mainly played between second base and third base during the 2008 season.

For the 2009 year, the Miami, FL born utility player began the season off with a promotion to Single-A Quad Cities where he played three-fourths of the year. He hit .270 with 21 doubles, four triples, five home runs, 34 RBIs, 128 total bases, 51 runs, 20 walks, 21 stolen bases, and 89 strikeouts in 82 games. Castellanos spent some time on the disabled list in late-June but was soon promoted to A-Advanced Palm Beach for the last month of the minor league season. He struggled through 21 games going 10-for-53 (.189) with one double, one triple, one home run, two RBIs, 16 total bases, five runs, two walks, and 19 strikeouts. Also during the 2009 year he played 22 of his 103 games in the outfield.

Hage, 20, was a 23rd round (712th overall) selection by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2007 draft out of Stoneman Douglas High School (Parkland, FL). He has played sparingly over three seasons in the Cardinals organization due to random injuries. Hage has also split the last three season between the Gulf Coast League affiliate and Short-Season Rookie-Level Johnson City Cardinals.

During the 2009 season the right-handed hitter began the season late rehabbing with the GCL Cardinals in July and played in 16 games. As the minor league season came down to the final month, the Cardinals organization shuffled many players around and Hage received a promotion to Johnson City. Between both teams, he hit .240 with ten doubles, nine RBIs, 33 total bases, 13 runs, eight walks, and 17 strikeouts in 36 games.

The Florida Winter Baseball League will be a combination of independent league, minor league free agents, former college, and High-A to Low-A minor league players. Former All-Star Ken Griffey, Sr. was named the commissioner of the league in April and 1977 NL MVP George Foster signed on to manage the Lake County Black Bears. Former major league star Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez is one of the members of the ownership group. The regular season opens October 30th and runs until January 17th with the playoffs beginning on January 22nd.

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