Welington Castillo could soon return to the Orioles lineup

TORONTO - The Orioles and catcher Welington Castillo got good news today. After taking a foul ball in the groin and leaving last night’s game at Rogers Centre, Castillo does not have any damage and he feels he could pinch-hit tonight.

He is not ready to return to catch, but that could happen soon as well. Castillo took a foul ball off the bat of Miguel Montero in the first inning last night. He finished that inning but was replaced by Caleb Joseph in the bottom of the second.

Beyond the concern over getting struck there and the pain he felt, there is also the fact that it happened for the second time this year. Castillo spent 10 days on the disabled list from May 31-June 10 with a testicular injury after getting hit in the same area.

But after spending some time in the hospital last night and undergoing tests, today he provided an encouraging update.

castillo-homer-gray.jpg“I feel better,” Castillo said. “Good thing is there is nothing wrong, no damage. Just depends how I feel. I wanted to play today but the doctors said I can’t until I am pain free. I’m going to be available to pinch-hit.

“To catch, they say I have to be pain free. But this is not like the last time. I thought it might be worse, but this is good news. No damage and not a big deal. Just go day-by-day and see how I feel.”

The first time this happened, Castillo said it was difficult to walk in the days after. Fortunately that was not true this time, but what is true is he went through this again just about three months apart.

“It’s crazy,” he said. “We were talking about that yesterday before batting practice. Normally I have not gotten hit there very often, but it is part of baseball. I think I just have to wear a better cup,” he said with a laugh.

But he was also serious in that regard. He may look for an equipment upgrade.

“Maybe I will try something new, for sure. It may not be comfortable at first but I’ll probably have to stay with it,” he said.

The last time, Castillo had to do some simulated work catching to prove he was ready to return. He played in one game for Double-A Bowie and is not sure that will be needed this time.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “If I have to do anything I might catch a bullpen. I went through that before. This is not that bad.”

At least Castillo will not have to end his season before the games are finished. He has had a solid year for the Orioles, batting .293 with 19 homers, 49 RBIs and an OPS of .835. Over his last 12 games he is batting .400 with five homers and nine RBIs. He has also thrown out 49 percent attempting to steal. Now he gets to finish out a strong season.

“Oh yeah. I love playing and I love to be out there,” he said. “This is what I love to do. Play baseball and win games. The good thing is I am going to be back in a couple of days and hopefully we continue to compete for the wild card.”

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