The 5-foot-10, 155-pound shortstop from Sabana Grande de Boya, Dominican Republic, played in the 2010 Dominican Summer League where he faced arm problems. He was forced to play second base all season where he was not used to be playing. With health issues present, Claudio Custodio put up decent numbers at the plate.
He carried a low .217 batting average but hit five home runs, 36 RBIs on 44 hits in 61 games played. He also found his way on base, stealing 14 bases and adding up a healthy 44 runs scored.
After Custodio's summer in the Dominican, he came over to America where he has currently been playing in the Yankees Extended Spring Training games. With his arm problems in the past, he is ready for the 2011 GCL season.
"Last year I played through pain and this year I am finally healthy," Custodio said through a translator. "I'm back playing at shortstop and couldn't be happier to be in America playing the game that I love."
With the GCL starting up next month, Custodio has been working with coaches on staying consistent at the plate. He believes that last summer he wasn't a smart hitter, but he is now working hard to become one at the plate.
"Last season I was always trying to a hit a home run every at-bat," he admitted. "My swing was long; I was pulling my head out. Now, I'm working on letting the ball get deeper and staying on the ball to hit line drives on a consistent basis."
As he works hard on sharpening his mechanics at the plate, he also carries plus shortstop skills on the field. GCL head coach Carlos Mendoza has seen the 20-year old Latin player move great at the shortstop position.
"He's a great shortstop," Mendoza said when asked about Custodio's play in the field. "[Claudio] has really great instincts and is a very smart fielder for his age. He's fun to watch."
Although Staten Island Yankees manager Tommy Slater hasn't seen Custodio play as much as Mendoza has, Slater says that when he has seen him play, he likes what he's seen.
"When I've seen [Claudio] play he's looked great," Slater said. "He caught the ball well off the bat and hit a lot of line drives while also getting solid hits to right and right-center."
As Custodio continues to work on his hitting and fielding game, there are fielding improvements that need to be made according to Mendoza.
"Although he is consistent at shortstop, he can become more consistent. We've been working on his footwork, an overall routine on the field, and making sure he plays hard every single game and so far he has, and it's been noticed," Mendoza said.
With Custodio being a kid who has came over from the Dominican, life in America has been getting a little easier day-by-day as he prepares for the upcoming season.
"At first it was hard; I didn't know the language, the food, the location. Now, I'm starting to take English classes and getting more comfortable with the area, it gets a little easier step-by-step every day," said Custodio.
With life in America in full swing, baseball stays Custodio's number one priority and realizes what he has to mainly work on for the GCL season.
"Besides working on my swing and staying short to the ball and hitting line drives, staying healthy and enjoying the game is what I mainly want to do," Custodio said. "I love baseball, it's my passion and with a good work ethic and staying healthy I couldn't be more ready for the upcoming season to start up."
Custodio Ready For Gulf Coast League
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