The Home Team: Minor Leaguers with Southern Arizona Ties

The Home Team: Castillo’s transition to reliever pays off

2013-08-26T00:00:00Z The Home Team: Castillo’s transition to reliever pays offBy Andrew Cockrum Special to The Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

In his first season in the closer’s role, Jesus Castillo recorded 23 saves and a 2.45 ERA in the Mexican League with Broncos de Reynosa this season. In his previous eight seasons of professional baseball he was used as a starter.

The Pima College and Tucson High product’s late-inning transition in Mexico paid off when the Oakland Athletics signed him to a minor-league deal Aug. 8.

Castillo has been used in three games so far with the Double-A Midland RockHounds. The right-handed pitcher has allowed just two batters to reach base and has yet to surrender a run.

The trip back to affiliated baseball is the first for Castillo since he pitched in the Dodgers’ system in 2010.

Three Up

Manny Barreda • RHP, Trenton Thunder (Yankees’ Double-A affiliate)

• For the first time in Barreda’s seven-year professional career he has reached the Double-A level. The 2007 Sahuarita High School grad has five strikeouts in two games so far at Trenton.

Erik Castro • 1B, Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros’ Double-A affiliate)

• Castro batted .500 with 12 hits in six games this week. The former Wildcat’s biggest hit happened Friday when he came through with an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth to hand the Hooks a walk-off victory.

Kyle Simon • RHP, Reading Fightin Phils (Phillies’ Double-A affiliate)

• The UA product bounced back from a rough previous week by pitching four scoreless innings of relief, while earning his second win and ninth save of the season for Reading.

Three Down

Brandon Dixon • 3B, Great Lakes Loons (Dodgers’ Class-A affiliate)

• The Arizona alum has not recorded a hit since Aug. 10 and has seen his batting average drop 29 points since that game. Dixon has 59 strikeouts in 51 games with the Loons.

Donn Roach • RHP, San Antonio Missions (Padres’ Double-A affiliate)

• After earning his eighth win of the season in his previous start, the ex-Wildcat surrendered four runs and eight hits in four innings Friday. Roach was charged with his 12th loss in that game for San Antonio.

Carlos Ramirez • C, Arkansas Travelers (Angels’ Double-A affiliate)

The former Sunnyside Blue Devil went hitless in four games this week, continuing his rough month at the plate. Ramirez is batting .182 in August with just three RBIs and six runs.

Player of the Week

C.J. Ziegler • 1B, Wichita Wingnuts (Independent League)

In the Canyon del Oro High graduate’s second season with Wichita he has hit .323 with 29 home runs and 97 RBIs. Both his home run and RBI totals are tops in the league.

The former Arizona Wildcat and Pima Aztec hit his 28th homer Saturday to break the American Association’s single-season record. He added another homer Sunday.

This past week for the Wingnuts, Ziegler has amassed a .485 average, five long balls and 14 RBIs.

In the same game that he tied the league’s home run record Wednesday, he also hit for the cycle against the Gary SouthShore RailCats. The first baseman recorded a home run and triple in his first two at-bats, before hitting a double in the seventh and completing the cycle in the ninth with a single. The cycle was the first in Wichita history.

Ziegler last appeared in affiliated baseball in 2009 with San Francisco’s High-A affiliate in San Jose.

The Big Number

1

Grand slams for ex-Wildcat catcher Jett Bandy in his career after hitting his first Wednesday for Double-A Arkansas. The home run was his fourth of the season for the Travelers.

Coming up

Tuesday: The Class-A Rome Braves and Savannah Sand Gnats play a three-game series featuring UA products Matt Chaffee and Cole Frenzel. It’s the second time they have faced each other as pros.

He Said It

“The number one thing that has been my main focus since my arrival here has been to have complete command of the strike zone. Being out of the bullpen you need to come straight into the game with immediate command in order to be effective.”

Eric Fredrick on Friday about his performance so far with Tampa Bay’s rookie affiliate the Gulf Coast League Rays. The former Pima College and Mountain View High left-handed pitcher has a 2.08 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 26 innings in 13 relief appearances.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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