José Castro’s professional baseball career included three seasons in the Chicago White Sox farm system. He played all four inside and outside positions in the organization from 1982-85.
Castro is back, having joined the Sox as their new hitting coach in November.
“It’s amazing, man,” Castro said last week. “This is the best game in the world for me, and my last year here with the White Sox was 1985.
“Coming back here 38 years later – the same year I got married, and still married to a wonderful lady, my best friend (Lisa) – I’m getting chills now thinking about it.”
Castro, 64, spent the last eight seasons (2015-22) as an assistant hitting coach for the Atlanta Braves, helping them win the World Series in 2021.
His big league coaching experience also includes serving as a quality assurance coach for the Cubs in 2014. He was the interim hitting coach for the Seattle Mariners in 2008.
After 14 seasons playing in the youth teams, Castro became a coach. 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 backup coach in Venezuela. I know him very well,” Sox coach Pedro Grifol said Saturday.
Castro held various roles in the Mariners organization from 2000 to 2012 and managed the Venezuelan Winter League from 2010 to 2013.
“He’s also a good friend,” Grifol said. “I trust him. He’s in the cage. He’s doing his thing. We’ve made our plan, and the good thing is that adaptability is part of his DNA.
“If you can’t adapt, you won’t succeed. This is your greatest attribute. He’s a smart guy and he’s been doing this for a long time, but his ability to adapt to different personalities and adapt to game situations, he’s one of the best doing it.
“I don’t even think about him that much, to be honest with you. I know he’s doing his job.”
Castro went straight to work after getting the job.
“Watching videos, talking to them in the winter, texting,” he said. “They sent videos. It was an easy transition because of the type of players we have here. Everyone wants to do well in any business. It’s working fine now.”
In general, Castro said the goal is for Sox hitters to be “aggressive in the strike zone.”
“Everyone is working towards this, all 30 teams I think,” Castro said. “Our plan and approach is based on the fastball, working the middle of the field and letting it go wherever it goes. Not trying to drive anything anywhere, just get your swing out there and be consistent with your approach and plan.
One area the Sox have emphasized this spring is situational hitting.
“Situational aggression is part of who we are,” Grifol said. “We have some guys who can hit really hard. Everyone knows that. However, we have to play in April. In April, the weather hinders the attack a little. And we have to learn to win these games.
“We have to learn to win tight games: 2-1, 3-2. Of course, as you progress through the season, your sticks won’t always be there. Situational hitting is part of who we are and we have to produce and that’s just part of our game. I look forward to seeing that become part of our identity as well.”
The Sox are incorporating this mentality into some of their practices.
“That’s going to be important for us this year,” Castro said of the situational hitting. “Pedro emphasizes this a lot. I really believe that. No shift now, there’s more time for that.
“So yeah, we’re on it. We’re having fun with it, getting the guys kind of excited.
Castro is enjoying the whole process.
“It just takes a little time,” he said of the tweaks. “You meet the guys, watch the video and go through the whole thing. The trust part is tweaking here and there and making sure everyone is on the same page.”
#José #Castros #approach #Chicago #White #Soxs #hitting #coach #Adaptability #part #DNA #News #Mercury