Castillo Excited For His Debut Season

The Yankees signed Venezuelan shortstop Diego Castillo on July 2nd this year and he immediately made a strong impression with his unofficial debut at Instructs this season, displaying the consistent bat and high-energy style of play that he had been known for as an amateur. He says he's still getting used to professional baseball but he can't wait to make his official debut in 2015.

He signed back on July 2nd for a reported $750,000.

"Obviously I was very excited," he said through the help of a translator. "My family and I celebrated the signing, and it was a happy time for me and my family."

While he was able to play in a handful of unofficial games on the back fields down at the Yankees' Dominican academy this past summer, it just wasn't what he was hoping for. He wanted to make his way to the United States and he got his first taste of that last month during Instructional League. It was there that he made a pretty strong immediate impression.

"Right now my best tool is hitting," he opined. "I spray the ball around the field. I'm not pulling off or anything; I feel locked in.

"My best skill defensively is my range. My arm is average. I make good throws but [throwing] in the hole I have a little bit of weakness but my range is really good."

Improving his arm strength is something he plans on working on in the coming years and the hope is that it will improve as he physically matures. But it's his innate knack for using the whole field when hitting, hitting from gap to gap, and his all-out hustle style of play that combine to conjure up images of fellow countryman Francisco Cervelli.

"I don't try to emulate him or anything," he said. "My concentration makes me do things the way I do but I don't really try to imitate anyone."

Just like Cervelli, he is very much in every moment of the game and just like a young Cervelli he has really taken to the notion of what it means to be a professional.

"Being a professional has changed [me] a lot. Preparing for games, even in the Dominican Republic, before I was trying out and now you're playing against the best of the best here for the Yankees.

"My mentality has completely changed, all the way down to [the way of] preparing for games. Moving forward next year, that's what I have to keep doing, being a professional."

The Cervelli comparisons don't end with his style of play or his overall energy level; he too has the insatiable enthusiasm for playing the game and because of that he simply can't wait to get his official professional debut season started.

"I will be more than happy if the Yankees call me and tell me that I'm playing here [in the United States next year]. I have to get a lot better physically, get stronger mentally too, but I'm very happy and hopefully that happens and I get my chance," he concluded.

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