The Marlins third baseman is adjusting to his new role at the hot corner.
Prior to the beginning of Spring Training, Marlins manager Don Mattingly said Brian Anderson would be the team’s starting third baseman. One of the cornerstone players the team is building around just hit his 18th home run of the season and continues to be one of Miami’s more productive players.
A lot has changed since February as players have developed, injuries have taken their toll on the team and the Marlins have done their fair share of changing lineups and the pitching staff this season. The most recent changes, with Isan Diaz taking over at second base and Starlin Castro moving over to the hot corner has meant Anderson once again will assume the role of right fielder and the team’s main power source at the moment.
While Anderson continues to excel at either position, it is Castro who is adjusting to his new role with the team down the stretch.
"“Castro is still adjusting to the move,” writes Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald. “He never played at the hot corner during his 10 major-league seasons and only played five games there total throughout the minor leagues and never higher than rookie ball.”"
While it is a new challenge for Castro, who came over to the Marlins last season in the Giancarlo Stanton deal, he continues to go out there every day and play with the same intensity as Opening Day.
The thought two weeks ago this wouldn’t even be a discussion. Diaz would take over for Castro, who was expected to be dealt by the MLB Trade Deadline. That did not materialize. The former Yankees star is making $11 million this season and $16 million although there is a $1 million buyout clause in his contract after this year.
Having a solid veteran in the lineup is a nice thing for Mattingly and his coaching staff to depend on, but it is almost a certainty the team’s current third baseman will be in another uniform next season.
"“If I’m going to be in the lineup,” Castro said, “I don’t care what position I play. I just want to play.”"
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The move was coming, he just didn’t get a notice the day of his position change. Two weeks ago, it was Castro who was taking grounders at third, working on his timing. That’s the kind of professional he is. Even though he did not want to remain in Miami at the time of the trade last offseason, a discussion with management helped to ease the move from a contender with the Yankees to a bottom-dweller in south Florida.
The doubleheader with the Mets on Monday was where Castro made his debut. It looks as though it is where he will stay.
"“I felt scared the first two innings,” Castro said of his performance Monday. “I felt nervous early, but something I always believed is that if you can play shortstop, you can play any position around the diamond.”"
The Marlins dropped all four of their games with the Mets this week. Castro will continue to work at his new position and hope his work at third and at the plate can help the Marlins earn a few more wins this season.