Curve star working to find his way back
Tonight: Akron at Altoona, 7 p.m.
Pitchers: Curve LHP Trey McGough (0-1, 7.36) vs. Ducks LHP Juan Hillman (3-1, 3.41)
Radio: WRTA-AM 1240 & 98.5-FM
Special note: Thursday night’s game postponed by rain will be made up Saturday at 4 p.m. as a doubleheader
By Matthew Knaub
For the Mirror
Curve third baseman Rodolfo Castro made his major league debut for the Pirates in April. He now finds himself in Double-A, trying to get back to the big leagues.
“He’s a big-leaguer playing in Double-A,” Curve manager Miguel Perez said. “He’s handled it really well. He’s doing everything to get promoted, to get promoted not only to Triple-A, (but) to be back in the big leagues.”
Castro played for the Pirates in one game on April 21 and went 0-for-3. However, since joining the Curve at the start of their season on May 4, he has arguably been Altoona’s top hitter.
Castro leads the Curve in plate appearances, runs scored, hits and RBIs. He is also tied for the team lead with seven doubles and six home runs.
Castro’s .310 batting average ranks second among Altoona players with at least 50 plate appearances. His .369 on-base percentage ranks third on the team.
“I feel good,” Castro said, through translator and Curve catcher Raul Hernandez. “I feel very excited to help this team at this level.”
A member of Pittsburgh’s 40-man roster, 2021 marks the first season Castro has played baseball at the Double-A level or higher. A native of the Dominican Republic, he was acquired by the Pirates as an international free agent in 2015.
“I just try to play hard every single year, every single season,” Castro said. “(I was) very surprised to get (a spot on) the 40-man roster — a new experience for me.”
Castro has been red hot of late, posting a .448 batting average and swatting four homers in his last four contests. He tied Tuesday’s game with a two-run homer in the seventh inning, and he won Wednesday’s game with a solo shot in the eighth against Akron.
“I feel so happy,” Castro said of his good start. “I have a lot of power in my mind to get better.”
Castro is ranked as the No. 22 prospect in the Pirates’ system, according to Baseball America, and is eager to help the organization at any level. No matter where he is playing, Castro greatly values the camaraderie present in the dugout and clubhouse.
“Enjoying the game with teammates is everything for me,” he said.