-- Baltimore Orioles rookie Bernie Castro started a game in the field for the first time Sunday, but the 26-year old second baseman was playing in unfamiliar territory -- left field.
With all-star Brian Roberts already entrenched at second base, interim manager Sam Perlozzo said he has been looking for ways to get Castro on the field.
"We've been working him in the outfield," Perlozzo said before Sunday's game against Tampa Bay. "He's played in the outfield before anyway. The only concern I think we have is his arm strength. We'll send our [cut-off] guys out a little deeper. It's not like we've thrown a ton of guys out at the plate anyway. We'll just find out whether he can go out and catch the baseball."
The first results of the experiment were not encouraging. Castro misplayed a bases-loaded single by Alex Gonzalez, allowing three of the Devil Rays' six fourth-inning runs to cross the plate. Castro did handle himself better at the plate, going 2 for 4 with an RBI before being pulled for a defensive replacement in the eighth inning.
The 5-foot-10, 165-pound Castro was chosen as the Orioles' Class AAA most valuable player and had four previous starts since his Sept. 1 call-up from Ottawa -- all as a designated hitter.
Time to Play Spoiler
The Orioles will play a big role in deciding the American League's playoff race. Baltimore's next 11 games are against East contenders New York and Boston. The Orioles will face the Yankees eight times in the final two weeks, beginning with a four-game set at Yankee Stadium.
"It's a game on our schedule," Perlozzo said. "It's been there all year long and we knew we had to play them. We're going to try to play it to win like we played the rest of them. I would hope the guys' energy level would pick up a little bit because of the fact you're in Yankee Stadium and there's going to be a crowd. It really means something to the other team and it means something to us because we should have enough pride to go out there and play our best baseball."