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Casto Could Hustle Onto Nats' Roster
That much seems assured. The Nationals would be willing to trade either Church or Snelling if they are healthy and could get value in return -- thus far, asking prices have been too high -- and Casto is a big reason why.
Nationals officials particularly like the way Casto fights in every at-bat, taking pitches that others might swing at, thus getting themselves out. He is so patient that, as he came up through the minor leagues, coaches urged him to be more aggressive, to swing at more strikes.
"I think that, even in a big league-type situation, the approach becomes more important because the pitchers obviously have better stuff," Casto said. "They locate it better, so you have to be even more patient to get a better pitch to hit, because they nibble on the corner and get you to swing at those pitches."
Should Casto end up in the majors, Page, who is now the Nationals' major league hitting coach, would have to prepare him every night to tailor his approach depending on the opposing pitcher.
"It would be my job to say, 'This is a guy you have to be more aggressive with, because he's around the plate, and he's got a strikeout pitch,' " Page said. "I'd have to tell him, 'You don't want to let them get to that pitch.' That comes with maturity."
That's a commodity Casto might already have.
"I really want to make this team," he said. "If that doesn't happen, it's out of my control. It's kind of one of those things you got to take in stride. . . . I think I've shown them I can hit at this level."
Whether it be at 6 a.m. or approaching midnight, the Nationals believe that to be true.