03/27/09 10:58 PM ET
Nats have decision to make on Casto
Former top prospect must be rostered, or exposed to waivers
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
Casto is out of Minor League options, and the Nationals could keep him on the 25-man roster, or place him on waivers with a chance of another club picking him up. If there is no interest from the other 29 clubs, Casto could be outrighted to Triple-A Syracuse.
"To tell you the truth, I'm not worried about it," the 27-year-old Casto said after Friday's loss to the Mets. "There is no weight on my shoulders. I've been in this situation before. There's really nothing I can say.
"It's their decision. If they feel like they want me here, I'm going to be here. If not, they have to put me on waivers. What ever happens there is out of my control. I'm just sitting back and waiting. I'm working hard every day and getting ready for the beginning of the season."
There was a time when Casto constantly worried about where he fit in with the Nationals and asked himself why things were not going his way with the bat, but not anymore. Casto did a lot of praying the last few weeks, and it worked wonders for him. He has a newfound peace of mind, and his confidence is higher than ever. Casto stopped short of saying that he was born again.
After Friday's game in which he went 0-for-3 with a run scored, Casto was pleased he was able to get some good swings against Mets left-hander Johan Santana.
"I felt something was pulling at me, something that I was not controlling," Casto said. "It was strange. I couldn't put my finger on what it was. Things were not going in the right direction. So I started praying about it. I have a different perspective on things right now. I feel good. When I make outs, I'm not upset. [I] just smile. ... It has been a couple of weeks since I felt that way. "
Before finding this newfound freedom, Casto acknowledged that he put too much pressure on himself after winning the team's Minor League Player of the Year awards in 2005 and '06.
Casto hasn't been able to capitalize on his opportunities in the big leagues. In 82 career games, he is hitting .194 (42-for-217) with two home runs and 19 RBIs.
"There were expectations," Casto said. "Instead of just being myself, I tried to go above and beyond. In the end, it hurt me. At least I've learned a lesson."
By last year, Casto was no longer the golden prospect, and is now considered a utility player. In 15 games this spring, Casto is hitting .184 (7-for-38) with three RBIs. Manager Manny Acta has used him at third base and first base.
"[Being a utility player] could be his job," Acta said. "We have an interesting decision to make. We have seen him in the last two years -- on and off. We have seen him this year in Spring Training. He has played third and first. He is doing well defensively. He still hasn't hit the way we expect him to hit up here."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.