Former major league All-Star third baseman Vinny Castilla says he hopes to be back in uniform playing for the Hermosillo Naranjeros by December 7.
In an interview with Puro Beisbol’s Fernando Ballasteros, the 43-year-old Castilla, who retired from MLB after the 2006 season and presently is an assistant GM with the Colorado Rockies, says “Physically, I’m fine, but I haven’t seen pitches from a mound in a year. I’m going to be in Hermosillo to get ready and I think with some simulated games and batting, I’ll debut on December 7.” Castilla played 30 games for the Naranjeros last winter, hitting .292 with 7 homers and 27 RBIs for the Mex Pac champions.
Regarding the firing of former manager Homar Rojas last week, Castilla said, “He’s a man of baseball, a man I respect very much, and yes it was a surprise to hear about that,” adding that he’s known new skipper Ever Magallenes “a long time. We played against each other many times. He’s a man who’s very respected in baseball.”
One of Castilla’s Naranjeros teammates will be reigning Mex Pac MVP Luis Alfonso Garcia, who was leading the league with 16 homers and 42 RBIs after 38 games. Castilla, who belted 320 homers in his own big league career (a record for Mexican-born players), says all Garcia needs to reach the majors is “an opportunity. I think someone has to give it because right now, he is above the level of Mexican baseball.”