Miguel Castro on meeting his baseball hero

TORONTO - If you are a pitcher from the Dominican Republic in your 20s, you probably admire the great Pedro Martinez, a Dominican native and national baseball Hall of Famer. He was an eight-time All-Star and three-time Cy Young Award Winner.

Miguel Castro is a 23-year-old O’s pitcher from La Romana, Dominican Republic. Through the magic of television, he met his baseball hero yesterday, although he didn’t know it was going to happen. Castro and interpreter Ramón Alarcón went on MLB Network to talk about the upcoming Players Weekend, when players wear jerseys that can have special meaning to them.

Castro has “Villa Hermosa” on the back of his jersey and “Thank You Pedro Martinez” on one sleeve. The words pay tribute to the neighborhood where he grew up and to his baseball idol. During the interview, Castro was surprised as Martinez came on air to talk with him.

He was still pretty excited about that interaction when he was interviewed about it earlier today.

“To meet Pedro was something I wanted to do for a long time,” Castro said through Alarcón. “It was a dream come true. I’m very thankful the (Orioles) organization made this possible. I had no idea he was coming out. He really surprised me. I was nervous, happy, it was just a whirlwind of emotions for me.

“It was incredible to meet him, I still can’t believe it. I admire everything about him. The way he goes about the game. The way he prepares, the way he attacks the hitter. How he is always in command. I love everything about him.”

Castro-Delivers-Gray-sidebar.jpgCastro has a connection with Pedro in Baltimore. Pedro’s brother Ramon Martinez is a pitching instructor for the Orioles, has worked extensively with Castro and has encouraged him to watch Pedro videos to try to learn from them.

Castro was asked about how important Pedro Martinez was to young Dominican kids.

“I’ve been able to pick up the way he pitches, the aggressiveness with his pitches and the way he prepares. Just a good work ethic. He is a mirror. That is the best description I can give. Someone you can look up to, someone you can hopefully fill those shoes and do some of the things that he accomplished. He is someone that everyone is proud of back home,” Castro said.

In this tweet, Martinez said: “Miguel, a pleasure to meet you, work hard, clean and put everything in the hands of God.”

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