Jose Castro on Triple-A hitters

Jose Castro had a tough job as the hitting coach of the Portland Beavers. Instead of helping a Triple-A team it seemed like he was coaching the JV squad. There were, however, a few bright spots.

Last year you were in line for the Seattle rover job – any prospects this year and did you throw your hat in the ring for the San Diego rover job?

Jose Castro: I did have an interview and Tony Muser ended up getting it. We take it a day at a time and a year-to-year deal. Do we all want to get better and move up? Absolutely. I am not panicking or pushing it. Obviously, I am disappointed I did not get the job but life goes on.

How tough was it for you as hitting coach to find symmetry with a lineup that constantly changed?

Jose Castro: It is tough. Sometimes you have those types of years where someone is going down or someone is going up at the Triple-A level. The revolving door going on. It is hard to keep a steady lineup at times. We are sending a bunch of guys up to the big league team – whether it is pitching or hitting. That is what it is for. That is the bottom line.

Ray Chang had a quality year for you, especially since he barely played above A-ball. What did you see from him?

Jose Castro: Ray Chang gets it done. He came up there as a backup type and ends up playing everyday at shortstop and handles himself well. He did a very nice job for us.

Royce Huffman turned it on down the stretch – what changes were you able to make with him to get him back on track?

Jose Castro: Royce was coming up from a surgery. His wrist was always bothering him and it always took him a while to get loose swinging wise.

There are no excuses for Royce – he goes after it. He has a good feel of what they are trying to do and how they are trying to get him out. It is him knowing himself more than anything. That is a big key for a hitter, knowing where you break down and obviously your mental approach. We doubt ourselves and things snowball the wrong way. With Royce – he is a professional hitter.

There are a few players who mentioned Frank Menechino as a good influence – do you ever look at a kid and believe he could be a good coach one day?

Jose Castro: Frankie is very upbeat, a funny guy, outspoken – a baseball guy. He is a throwback – an old school type of player. He brings a lot of energy to the team.

Brian Myrow seemed surprised by his own abilities. What happened that enabled him to put it altogether?

Jose Castro: That is the first time I have had Brian. I saw him a couple of years ago with Las Vegas and I always liked the way he hit, how he swung. He is a hitter. This guy can fall off the bed and lace a line drive. He was hurt in Spring Training and had a calf muscle that was getting stiff on him but he battled through that.

He came in and wasn't starting because of the injury and Michael Johnson came up. That was a wakeup call for him. ‘They are bringing a Double-A guy up? What is up with that?' Michael goes down after not doing well for us and Myrow steps in and the rest is history. He has a very nice year.

The injury aside, Vince Sinisi had a good year. Provided he is healthy, do you expect more power in the future?

Jose Castro: Vince Sinisi is gap-type power, homerun power to the pull side. Very good eye/hand coordination. He is very talented. Ability-wise he is very talented. For me, he lacks a little power. That still makes him a pretty dangerous hitter because he hits to all fields, has that gap power and some power to the pull side. A good hitter – very good hitting instincts.

Paul McAnulty had a down year from a health standpoint and in the box. What does he need to do to return to the level he was at?

Jose Castro: Paul McAnulty – a kid that is a pure hitter. Injuries got in his way. A little bit overweight. This year was a learning experience for him about how when things go wrong how bad they can go. That is what happened. Hopefully he learned from it. Come back to Spring Training and take this lesson and apply it. It doesn't matter where you play as long as you are playing in the big leagues. Get yourself right mentally and physically and show them, ‘I can do this. That was a bad year for me. I was injured. I am back.'

You had Drew Macias, now with the big club, for a little while. What impressed you about him?

Jose Castro: Drew Macias – he comes up to Triple-A and handled himself real well with the bat and in the outfield. He did a very good job for us. A quiet competitor. He goes after it and works hard. His early work – he puts his time in and has a lot of time for the game. He goes about it in a very professional manner.

Craig Stansberry tired a little towards the stretch but had a great year overall. How did he grow through the year?

Jose Castro: Stanny did well for us. He started off hotter than anyone. He went through some slumps but very professional. He worked at it; no excuses. Went about the game like you are supposed to. He did a fine job for us. He hit 15 or so homeruns; hit a lot of doubles. He played well.

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