“Touching Base” with Alex Castellanos

*Each homestand the ‘Topes Tattler will spotlight an individual on the Isotopes for the new segment, “Touching Base.” The blog will be checking in with various players and coaches to give fans an inside look at your 2012 ‘Topes. Make sure to keep checking back to see who is “touching base!”

In a season that’s seen a handful of guys leave the ‘Topes, it feels good to have one back.

Especially when it’s Alex Castellanos.

Almost exactly a month to the day (April 24) since the utility fielder went on the DL with a left hamstring strain, Castellanos says everything is back 100 percent and he’s ready to suit up for the Isotopes.

“It feels good,” says Castellanos of his hamstring. “I’m still a little bit scared to push it, but I’ll get over it after I start playing a couple games.”

If anyone should be scared it’s opposing pitching.  Before the injury, Castellanos ranked in the tops of nearly every offensive category including runs scored, triples, extra-base hits, total bases, walks, torn-up pitching charts, slugging percentage and opponent’s headaches.

He even led the PCL in hit by pitches (wonder if there’s a correlation).

When asked about what he’s looking to do in his return, Castellanos said, “Just right where I left off, just doing what I was doing.”

Better get the record books ready.

While on the Disabled List, Castellanos was slowly rehabbing his way back to Albuquerque in Extended Spring Training. His routine in Glendale AZ. was a little different than everyday professional baseball, and he said that all the down time can really wear on your mental composure.

“That whole month was tough,” says Castellanos. “Especially (when) I wake up early in the morning, get my stuff done, and then I have the whole day just to think.”

Think about what exactly?

What pose to strike after a clutch base hit? How fast to jog around the bases after a home run? What walk-up song really says Alex Castellanos is back?

Anything else in Extended Spring Training?

“I played about 10 games down there, got a couple at-bats, got a couple hits,” says Castellanos.  “I think I hit a couple home runs, stuff like that.”

Jeez. How fast can we get this guy back in the box?

Unfortunately it’s unlikely that he’ll have a perfectly smooth transition back to Triple-A. Injuries like his can have a nagging, lingering effect, and it’s not something the infielder can just forget.

“I don’t really feel it (the injury),” says Castellanos. “But I’m just kind of scared to leg it out and have something happen. Just over time it’s going to have to get out of my head.”

Luckily he won’t have as much time to think about it anymore. With Castellanos penciled in the lineup tonight, the first time since April 24, he definitely has more important things on his mind.

“I want to get my timing back, see pitches, just things like that,” he says. “I’m just going to work my way up, little by little.”

“I just want to get back to the way I was playing.”

No need to think twice about that.

‘Topes infielder, Alex Castellanos

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