JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Miami second baseman Starlin Castro says he’s over the initial shock and disappointment he felt upon learning in December that he’d been traded from the contending New York Yankees to the rebuilding Marlins.
“It’s kind of tough because I’d been there two years,” Castro said. “We had a good team over there. We made the playoffs last year. When they made the trade, I felt a little upset.”
At a price tag of $10.86 million for 2018, he is the second-highest paid Marlins player and still could be traded at any point to further cut costs. Whether that happens or not, he’s set to play for Miami.
“I feel good now,” said Castro, a couple of hours before his new team faced his old squad for the first time this spring.
The 27-year old is keeping his Yankees ties alive.
Some Yankees elected to make the drive across the state from Tampa on Saturday night. Castro took Gary Sanchez, Miguel Andujar, Gleyber Torres and Estevan Florial to dinner.
“I feel really happy to see those guys and play against them,” Castro said. “It’s going to be fun.”
A .282 hitter over eight seasons whose next home run with be No. 100 in his career, Castro batted third against New York in a 7-5 win Sunday.
The four-time All-Star hit a triple off the center field wall off Jordan Montgomery in his first at-bat, part of a 1-for-3 afternoon.
Miami manager Don Mattingly intends to keep Castro in the No. 3 spot once the regular season begins, a role filled last year by the center fielder Miami traded to Milwaukee, Christian Yelich.
“We think he’s a guy a lot like Christian from the standpoint of, this is a guy who can really hit,” Mattingly said. “Hits both sides, right and left, and is just going to get his hits. If there’s men on base, he’s going to drive in runs. Not a 30-home run guy, probably, but a guy who will hit 15 to 20 and can get his hits.”
Castro became a Marlin in five-player trade that sent slugger Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees.
Aaron Judge appeared in New York’s lineup, but Stanton did not make the trip to the spring training facility that the reigning National League MVP called home for the first eight seasons of his major league career.
“I’m not disappointed,” Mattingly said, smiling.
“It would have been fine, though. Big G, he’s a good dude. I had no problems with him or any of that. He’s going to be great over there,” he said.
The trade of Stanton was part of an effort by the new ownership group, led by former Yankees great Derek Jeter, to trim payroll and restock the Marlins’ minor league system.
Jeter attended Sunday’s game, watching from the Miami owner’s suite. The arrival at his seat elicited a standing ovation from the predominantly Yankees crowd, prompting a wave from Jeter.
Yankees games are big business in Jupiter, drawing 7,648 fans in potentially the lone Marlins sellout of the spring.
NOTES: The Marlins have picked RHP Jose Urena to start on opening day. Miami opens at home against the Cubs on March 29. … Miami catcher J. T. Realmuto left the game early with what the Marlins called a “lower back contusion.” The injury occurred when New York second baseman Gleyber Torres fell on Realmuto when the Yankees successfully picked off Realmuto at second base in the fourth inning. … Aaron Judge hit his first home run of the spring, a drive off Sandy Alcantara in the seventh inning that landed on the balcony of the Marlins’ clubhouse beyond the left field wall.
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