Luis Castillo steps in as a batter after injury forces Mariners to give up the designated hitter

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle starting pitcher Luis Castillo had to do more than just try and shut down the Minnesota Twins from the mound on Sunday.

Castillo had to grab a bat and step in as a hitter after Seattle catcher Mitch Garver was injured by getting hit on the wrist and forcing a major reshuffling of the Mariners lineup in their 5-3 loss to the Twins.

With Cal Raleigh — Seattle’s other catcher — already in the lineup as the designated hitter, the Mariners were forced to forfeit the DH when Raleigh entered the game in the third inning behind the plate. That meant Castillo had to be put into the lineup and in the fourth inning, he stepped to the plate for his first plate appearance since Oct. 1, 2021, while he was still with Cincinnati.

The bat never left Castillo’s shoulder as he struck out looking on three pitches.

“I just listened to what they told me to take the pitches,” Castillo said through and interpreter after the game. “It’s been a while since I stood there and was seeing a pitch like that close to me. I followed the orders they gave me and that’s what I did up there.”

He was the first pitcher to step to the plate at T-Mobile Park since Oakland’s Jason Hammel in 2014 and just the third Mariners pitcher to bat in a home game in franchise history.

Castillo is one of two pitchers in baseball to make a plate appearance this season joining Arizona’s Scott McGough, who struck out in a loss to the New York Yankees on April 3.

But Seattle manager Scott Servais was more concerned about the big picture of the season and didn’t want to risk anything with Castillo at the plate.

“Luis hasn’t had a bat in his hands for a couple of years. There is so much baseball yet and we need him to be a guy for us on the mound. You have to be really careful there,” Servais said.

Castillo ended up lasting only five innings because of the lineup shuffle. Castillo was lifted for pinch-hitter Ryan Bliss in the fifth inning with the bases loaded. Castillo allowed three runs and six hits and struck out three but threw only 77 pitches.

“You kind of have to understand the situation,” Castillo said. “It was tough but you kind of have to understand it.”

Garver was injured when a fastball from Minnesota starter Joe Ryan tailed inside and hit him on the right wrist leading off the second inning. Garver stayed in the game to run but was immediately replaced by Raleigh to start the next inning. The team said Garver had a right wrist contusion and X-rays were negative.

Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli — who managed Garver with Twins — was hopeful his former player was going to be OK and understood the difficulty losing the DH put on Servais.

“That is a terrible thing for any team to have to deal with,” Baldelli said. “I would probably tell my pitcher the exact same thing, just go up there and stand back and maybe they walk you.”

Seattle did have three catchers on the roster for a stretch with Seby Zavala serving as the backup to Raleigh while Garver primarily was the DH. But Zavala was recently designated for assignment, leaving only two possible catchers on the roster.



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