Why rush Starlin Castro back to the New York Yankees when they are making a run for the playoffs without him?
The stage was set for Starlin Castro to do something incredible in a tie game against the Rochester Red Wings. Drive in the go-ahead run? Hit a three-run bomb in front of a listless Triple-A crowd of over 9,000? Any of those would guarantee him a first-class flight to Detroit to join the New York Yankees and their offensive juggernaut of a squad.
And yet he did something fairly common for the All-Star second baseman. He swung and missed at a pitch buried in the dirt, ending the threat and, ultimately, the inning.
Well, I guess some things never change for the New York Yankees and their players. Just as the sun will rise, Aroldis Chapman will give up a ninth inning run and Castro will strike out on a ball in the dirt.
But this is their starting second baseman. This is the guy the Bombers literally stole from the Chicago Cubs to fill the void at second base when Robinson Cano left a hole in both the hearts and the infield of the Yankees. This is the guy that will help propel them to the playoffs and, hopefully, another World Series title.
So, what’s the rush? Why not let Castro rehab more in Triple-A and focus on some problem areas before calling him up to potentially strike out in a game-winning situation?
That’s the question the Yankees have to ask themselves before bringing Castro back into the fray. They brought him back too soon from a hamstring injury earlier this year and ended up losing him for even more time than they originally anticipated.
Not only that, but they have a replacement who, for the moment, is red-hot. Taking Ronald Torreyes out of the lineup right would be a disservice to the Yankees.
Torreyes is batting .293 and offers consistency, which Castro has not for much of this season. While Castro can certainly play the game, do we really break up a good thing just to let Castro’s name back in the lineup?
Torreyes has been a blessing for the Yankees while Castro has been out. He has been a spark for a recently silent offense, getting on base and making things happen. He has remained consistent whenever he gets an opportunity but has been trapped behind Castro and Didi Gregorius.
Torreyes is not your typical everyday second baseman and he probably wouldn’t be a starter for the majority of the teams in the Major Leagues. However, right now the offense is red-hot — why should they change that just to accommodate one player?
There’s no sense in rushing Castro back. Sure, they could use his slick-handed fielding and swagger in the clubhouse. However, bringing back Castro before he is fully ready would only hurt the Yankees in the long run.
We saw it earlier this season and we don’t want to see it again. You want a fully healthy Castro to return during the playoff push. You put your best lineup out during crunch time, no questions asked. If Castro is not at his best, the Yankees will only be hurting themselves.
Castro has looked lost at the plate so far during his rehab stint. While he’s gotten hits, he’s also swinging at pitches in the dirt and not showcasing that power he was at the beginning of the season. His running looks okay but he is still running gingerly. Even on sacrifice flies, his timing was off and his footing awkward when tagging from third base on Tuesday night.
He is continuously lunging at pitches and while they might be dunking in for base hits now, that won’t fly in the big leagues. Castro just looks like he’s not fully back to the bomb-launching, heavy hitter we’re used to seeing.
Castro must be itching to get back in the lineup for the Yankees but it might not be his time. With the smoking Torreyes helping fuel the Yankees fire, Castro might be rehabbing for a little while longer — and that’s okay.
Castro has given the Yankees everything they could have hoped for and more but right now, he’s not looking 100 percent. If the Yankees want to put the best team out there, they have to be patient with Starlin Castro’s return.