José Castro’s professional baseball career included three seasons in the Chicago White Sox farm system. He played all four infield positions and the outfield in the organization from 1982-85.
Castro is back, having joined the Sox as their new hitting coach in November.
“It’s awesome, man,” Castro said last week. “This is the greatest game in the world for me, and my last year here with the White Sox was 1985.
“To come back here 38 years later — the same year that I married, and still married to a wonderful lady, my best friend (Lisa) — I’m getting goosebumps right now thinking about it.”
Castro, 64, spent the last eight seasons (2015-22) as the Atlanta Braves assistant hitting coach, helping them win the World Series in 2021.
His big-league coaching experience also includes serving as quality assurance coach for the Cubs in 2014. He was the Seattle Mariners interim hitting coach in 2008.
After 14 seasons playing in the minors, Castro turned to coaching. He spent 24 seasons as a minor-league hitting instructor for the Montreal Expos (1990-91, 2002-03), Florida Marlins (1992-2001), San Diego Padres (2003-07) and Mariners (2008-13).
“He was with me in Seattle and he was my bench coach in Venezuela. I know him extremely well,” Sox manager Pedro Grifol said Saturday.
Castro had various roles in the Mariners organization from 2000-12 and managed in the Venezuelan winter league from 2010-13.
“He’s a good friend as well,” Grifol said. “I trust him. He’s in the cage. He’s doing his thing. We mapped out our plan, and the good thing is that adaptability is part of his DNA.
“If you are not able to adapt, you are not going to have success. That’s his biggest attribute. He’s a smart hitting guy and has been doing this for a long time, but his ability to adapt to different personalities and to adapt to game situations, he’s one of the best out there doing that.
“I don’t even think about him too much, to be honest with you. I know he’s doing his job.”
Castro went right to work after getting the position.
“Watching video, talking to them in the winter, texting back and forth,” he said. “They would send videos in. It’s been an easy transition because of the type of players we have here. Everyone wants to do well in any business. It’s working well right now.”
In general, Castro said the goal is for Sox hitters to be “aggressive in the strike zone.”
“Everybody is working toward that, all 30 teams, I guess,” Castro said. “Our plan and approach is based on the fastball, working the middle of the field and letting it go where it goes. Not trying to guide anything anywhere, just put your swing out there and be consistent with the approach and the plan.”
One area the Sox have emphasized this spring is situational hitting.
“Situational hitting is a part of who we are,” Grifol said. “We’ve got some guys that can hit for a lot of power. Everybody knows that. However, we do have to play in April. In April, the weather hurts the offense a little bit. And we’ve got to learn how to win those games.
“We’ve got to learn how to win tight games: 2-1, 3-2. Obviously as you move forward throughout the season, your bats are not always going to be there. The situational hitting is a part of who we are and we’ve got to run produce and that’s just a part of our game. I’m looking forward to seeing that become a part of our identity as well.”
The Sox are incorporating that mindset into some of their drills.
“That’s going to be big for us this year,” Castro said of situational hitting. “Pedro stresses that a lot. I really believe in it. With no shift now, there’s more time for that.
“So, yeah, we’re on it. We’re having a good time with it, getting guys sort of ramped up.”
Castro is enjoying the entire process.
“It just takes a little time,” he said of talking through adjustments. “You get to know the guys, watching video and going through the whole deal. The trust part of it is tweaking here and there and making sure everyone is on the same page.”
Source: Berkshire mont
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