Phillies sign 2nd baseman Luis Castillo
Monday, March 21, 2011; 6:35 PM
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Philadelphia Phillies signed three-time All-Star second baseman Luis Castillo to a minor league contract on Monday.
Castillo will report to camp as a non-roster player and compete for playing time while five-time All-Star Chase Utley recovers from a right knee injury.
Philadelphia general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said bringing in Castillo amounts to a 10-day tryout before the seasons begins on April 1.
"We're going to see if he can play second base," Amaro said before Monday's game against the Boston Red Sox. "We'll assess it, see if he's going to be able to help us. If he can, great. If he can't we'll probably go with what we've got in camp."
"He's not going to go to the minor leagues," Amaro added. "He's either going to make our club or be released."
Utley hasn't played in any of the Phillies exhibition games this spring. He has been diagnosed with knee revealed tendinitis, chondromalacia and bone inflammation.
"He's getting a little better in time, he's starting to get a little better," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "It's not coming real fast, but he's showing, according to the doctors and trainers, he's starting to get better. Seems like it's going to take a while though."
Castillo is a career .290 hitter in 15 seasons with the New York Mets, Minnesota Twins and Florida Marlins. He hit .235 with Mets in 2010, but was limited to just 86 games because of a right heel injury.
Castillo was released Friday by the Mets. He is in the final season of a four-year, $25 million contract.
"I think a change will be good for him, I respect him as a player," said Phillies catcher Brian Schneider, who played with Castillo in New York. "He's been in the game a long time and he's done a lot of great things. I think this is a good opportunity for him with what's going on here."
Castillo is in the final season of a four-year, $25 million contract. The Mets are responsible for most of the $6 million remaining on the deal, with the Phillies having to pay Castillo the major-league minimum of $414,000 if he's added to the roster.
"He'll come in, we'll look at him and see what he's got, see if he can help us," Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said.
Castillo had not reported to camp by the time the Phillies clubhouse closed following the team's 4-1 win over the Boston Red Sox.
The Phillies have five players in camp who have played second base this spring: super utility reserve Wilson Valdez, Rule 5 pick Michael Martinez and non-roster players Josh Barfield, Delwyn Young and Pete Orr.