Detroit Tigers’ Nick Castellanos comfortable with move from third base to right field
By DICK SCANLON
LAKELAND, Fla. — Nicholas Castellanos went into his fifth major league season as an established third baseman. He came out of it as the Detroit Tigers’ right fielder.
“Because of all the trades and the way the team was going, and building for the future and acquiring other infielders, it’s kind of the way it worked,” he said Tuesday. “I’ll do whatever they need me to do. Right now they’ve asked me to go out there and catch flyballs so that’s what I’m doing.”
Castellanos was most of the way through his fourth season as Detroit’s third baseman when the Tigers made a series of moves that prompted his shift.
“People came up to me and talked about it, but I also brought it up myself just because I saw how everything was happening,” he said. “If you work, what happens if your boss was like: ‘Hey, we need you to go over here; that’s going to benefit the company.’ Same thing.”
Some players might be hesitant to make such a drastic change in the middle of their careers.
“He’s not in the middle of his career. He’s only 25,” observed general manager Al Avila, who saw Castellanos as a hitter looking for a position.
“Hitting is the hardest thing in baseball,” Avila said. “Usually a guy comes up and plays a position and you hope he learns how to be a hitter. There are a lot of guys like that. This guy can hit, and last year he became a legitimate middle-of-the order hitter.”
Castellanos hit .272 with 26 home runs and 101 RBIs. Most of it was as a third baseman. He hit .359 with seven homers after August, with third base in his rear-view mirror.
“The first time I had a conversation with him, he walked over to me and I asked him what he thought of this right-field thing,” said new Tiger manager Ron Gardenhire. “He said, ‘I absolutely love it, I feel so much more comfortable. It took so much pressure off me.'”