Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Vinny Released By Padres
In an unpopular move in the Padres clubhouse (according to the Associated Press), San Diego released Vinny Castilla today making last winter's trade of Brian Lawrence from the Padres for the Nats Castilla, a total washout. Vinny's numbers are even more way down than last season with the Nats. And, his bad knee has continued to bother him all season long. Still a solid defensive player, the Padres felt they needed to make a roster move for more pitching.
And, as quoted from the AP story, Vinny "is a career .276 hitter, with 319 homers and 1,101 RBI in parts of 16 seasons. He also played for Atlanta, Tampa Bay and Houston. He is the all-time major league leader by a Mexican-born player in homers, RBI, hits (1,880), doubles (349) and runs scored (900)."
Vinny also has my favorite ballplayer idiosyncracy. Whenever he would swing and miss at a pitch, a pitch he should have hit, Castilla would spit out his chewing gum and swing at it with his bat. Never got bored watching him do it.
Last season in Washington, I enjoyed watching him play. Vinny was part of that close knit latino connection (Esteban Loiaza, Carlos Baerga, Luis Ayala, Cristian Guzman, Jose Guillen, Jose Vidro, Hector Carrasco, Tony Armas, Jr. and Tony Blanco) that helped make the 2005 Inaugural Nats so very special. Castilla had a fabulous Opening Night Game against Arizona. His home run that night off Javier Vasquez began the famous jumping/moving of the stands along the 3rd base side. RFK rocked that night! And, if Lance Cormier had not hit Vinny during his last at bat that night, he would have most likely hit for the cycle. I remember, vividly, the entire stadium booing the Diamondbacks when he got hit.
Castilla was a very good fielder, but notorious first ball swinger. During the Brewers series on May 16, 2005 at RFK, with Vinny at the plate, Rally Time Richard and myself screamed out "Take A PITCH!! VINNY!!" as the ball was delivered. Castilla promptly WHACKED IT OUT OF RFK!! The pitcher was Doug Davis and the Nats went on to win 5-2. Section 320 has laughed about that moment for a long time. In fact, I would say that Home Run, early in the season, actually set the pace for the fun that has become SECTION 320!!
Will miss Vinny. Good Player. Did not complain, when his knee was killing him last season. Unfortunately, his time was up.