Diego Castillo got the news from Pirates manager Derek Shelton that he made the Pirates Opening Day roster. Castillo didn’t get complacent with that news and picked up four more hits, including a two-run home run in the Pirates 8-2 win over the Orioles in Sarasota.
Castillo continued his red-hot spring training as he raised his average to .406 to go along with a 1.398 OPS. His sixth spring training home run gives him a tie for the second-most in the league entering play today. It’s easy to see the excitement surrounding Castillo’s ability with the bat. He’s hasn’t lost his contact skills as his power potential continues to grow.
The next step for the 24-year-old is carrying his success from last season and this spring into the regular season at the big league level. It goes without saying that it will be the toughest test yet for Castillo, but his professional approach at the plate could help him be successful. It’s yet to be known if his name will be penciled in the Pirates lineup on Thursday.
Castillo wasn’t the only onw who powered the Pirates lineup on Monday. Bryan Reynolds collected four RBIs, three of which came on a long three-run homer in the sixth. He also stroked a double and recorded a sacrifice fly. He’s now hitting .333 with a 1.101 OPS this spring.
Hunter Owen gave the Pirates their third home run of the afternoon in his only at-bat. Cole Tucker collected a pair of singles, continuing his strong performance at the plate. Hoy Park reached base twice — once on a base hit and once on a walk. Michael Perez, who is one of two candidates to be the backup catcher, drew a pair of walks and plated a run on a sacrifice fly.
Bryse Wilson got the start for the Pirates in this one. He held the Orioles scoreless through the first three innings but ran into some trouble in the fourth where he allowed a two-run home run to Robinson Chirinos. All in all, it was a pretty decent outing for Wilson who really had his strikeout stuff working, sitting down seven via punch outs.
Wil Crowe again found himself entering the game in a piggy-back situation in relief of Wilson and was strong again in the role. He covered 2.2 innings, and didn’t allow any runs on two hits and picked up a pair of strikeouts. No walks again for the right-hander, which is encouraging.
Heath Hembree tossed another scoreless frame. That makes four scoreless innings of work for him this spring. Duane Underwood Jr. picked up three strikeouts in the eighth in just his third outing. In total, Pirates pitchers recorded 13 punch outs.
The Pirates final spring training game of the year comes on Tuesday against the Phillies with a 12:05 scheduled first pitch.