NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) – Luis Castillo finally reported to Philadelphia Phillies’ spring training camp Tuesday, four days after the second baseman was released by the Mets.
Castillo sounded bitter about his divorce from New York, saying Mets manager Terry Collins “wouldn’t give me a chance to play.”
“It didn’t work out. I told him if he didn’t give me the chance to play, I don’t know if I have to be on the team,” Castillo told reporters. “He decided to release me and wouldn’t give me the opportunity, and I’m here.”
Castillo blamed his late arrival on miscommunication between the Phillies and his agents. Phillies manager Charlie Manager actually had the second baseman in Tuesday’s lineup, assuming he would arrive before game time.
“If it was me, I’d have been here two days ago,” Manuel said. “But it’s not me. I ain’t upset about it all.”
The three-time All-Star hit .235 last year and sat much of the second half after returning from a heel injury, falling out of favor with the Mets’ staff. He was in a competition with four others for the second base job this spring with New York.
“It’s hard, man. It’s New York. You know how New York is. I had a lot of moments in New York,” Castillo said. “I don’t want to think about the fans and media and all this stuff. I want to focus on baseball and show people I can still play.”
The 35-year-old Castillo signed a minor league deal with the Phillies on Monday and he could earn regular playing time with Chase Utley out because of a right knee injury.
“Anybody would be excited to play for the Phillies,” he said. “I feel like I’m starting to play baseball again, like I’m a rookie guy. I know a lot of stuff is coming out. I’m trying to forget the past.”
Castillo was let go by the Mets despite being owed $6 million in the final year of a four-year deal. If he makes the team, the Phillies would only be responsible for $414,000, the major league minimum.
“It bothers me a little bit, but that’s the chance I have here,” said Castillo. “I have an opportunity to show I can still play.”
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said bringing in Castillo amounts to a week-long tryout before the seasons begins on April 1.
“He’s not going to go to the minor leagues,” Amaro said Monday. “He’s either going to make our club or be released.”
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