In 2019, baseball’s last full season, Castillo made the All-Star team for the first time and finished 15-8 with a 3.40 ERA. Last season, Castillo was 4-6 with a 3.21 ERA.
In a February list of the top 100 players in baseball compiled by MLB.com, he ranked No. 85, a six-spot improvement from 2021. Another Reds starter, Sonny Gray, ranked right behind him at No. 86. Third baseman Eugenio Suarez, No. 63, was the only other Reds player on the list.
Castillo said his goal this spring was to bring that same mental and physical focus into this spring.
“With that in mind, you have to try to work even harder,” he said.
Curt Casali often caught Castillo last season. He signed with the San Francisco Giants in the offseason, so Castillo will work with Tucker Barnhart or Tyler Stephenson, who’s expected to be the Reds’ second catcher.
“You’re going to have to learn with other catchers,” Castillo said. “You can’t just have one single catcher. I’m going to work with other catchers and make sure that I have a lot of confidence in them, so they can call the right pitches and I can throw the right pitches.”
Castillo was one of the names that came up in trade rumors over the offseason. He talked to his agent, who told him they were false rumors.
“It’s all a business,” he said. “One day you could be with the organization, and the next day, you’re traded. It’s part of the offseason.”
NOTES: Wade Miley threw 1 1/3 innings Thursday in his first spring training appearance of the season before exiting the game with a hamstring injury. ... The Reds beat the Chicago White Sox 7-4 to improve to 3-7 in the Cactus League. Nick Castellanos and Mike Moustakas hit back-to-back home runs in the third inning.