Casto Not Meeting His Own Expectations

Kory Casto had a very eventful beginning to the 2007 season.  He enjoyed not only one but two stints up with the Washington Nationals in April, including his major league debut.  However, after not performing as well as he would have liked, was optioned back to Columbus.  Now he is working hard to get his game back on track.

Casto started the season on the Triple-A Columbus Clippers' roster but was recalled to the Nationals before the Clippers ever played their first game. Casto rejoined Columbus for a little over a week before being recalled his second time. When given another chance at the big leagues, Casto found himself trying a little too hard to prove he deserved to be there.

"I think the problem was that I was trying too hard," Casto told "I was trying to do too many things at once and trying to hit a 5 run homerun every time at bat, instead of just taking the pitches the pitcher was giving me. I wasn't in the same mind set as I had been down here; I think I just got too excited when I went back up there."

Casto's stints at the major leagues seem like a distant memory to him now since he has spent the last four months with the Clippers. During his time in Columbus, Casto has been working on improving his game and getting it back up to where he expects it to be. However, despite all the hard work, he still feels that he has been inconsistent.

"I think I've been very inconsistent. I haven't been able to come out on a daily basis and do what I want to do and haven't been able to compete the way I wanted to," Casto said. "I don't feel like I've been overmatched or anything I just feel like I've been beating myself a little bit."

Casto says it's not a mental thing but more of just not being able to get into a consistent rhythm. In the past few weeks, he has tried to step back and reevaluate things. He feels he needs to just let things happen instead of trying to make them happen. Driving the ball the other way is another thing that Casto hasn't really done this year that he has in the past and something he has been working on. 

While Casto has been hard on himself, his statistics have been decent. Casto is hitting in the middle of the line up with an average of .253. He also has 11 homeruns, which is the third highest on the team, and 41 RBI's. But for Casto, that still is not where he hoped to be this far in the season.

"I know my stats haven't been bad but when I hold myself to my own standards, I feel like I could have done a lot better this season," Casto admits. "I know its tough moving around and doing all those things and I do take that into consideration but I still hold pretty high standards and I feel like more than anything, those standards are what count."

As far as homeruns are concerned, Casto thinks of them as missed hit doubles that he got under a little bit. Instead, he takes pride in being able to bring runners home, which he hasn't been able to capitalize on this year as he has in past seasons.

"There have been a lot of RBI situations that I've been in where you should get runners in that I haven't been able to come through in, especially guys at third with less than two outs," Casto said. "I have really been struggling with that this season."

One thing Casto does think he has done well in this season is his defense. No matter whether he plays 3rd base or left field, he feels he has been consistent and tries his best to make all the plays.

Even though Casto might beat himself up over his performance, he says it works to his advantage. Without any push, there would be no improvement and since the coaches aren't going to sit there and lecture him, he lectures himself.

"Playing in the major leagues has always been a dream of mine and hopefully I'll get a chance to go back. I only push myself and hold myself to such high standards because I know it makes me a better player. If you just settle with the performance you give, you won't improve. At the end of the season I will really evaluate the whole year and go from there but right now I just want to finish strong and see what happens."

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