Castillo plans to be at hospital for birth

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It's a lot better than sitting out because of balky knees.

Luis Castillo, who entering Wednesday had the National League's best average in July, will miss at least the start of Thursday's doubleheader to witness the birth of his second child.

Castillo said he plans to be at an area hospital at 10 this morning to welcome Adinade, a girl. The Mets are scheduled to take on the Rockies in the first game of a day-night doubleheader at 12:10 p.m. after a rainout Wednesday night.

"I want to be there [Thursday], that's my family,'' he said.

As long as Castillo continues to produce and doesn't show signs of tiring, manager Jerry Manuel said about the only way his second baseman can miss time is for a circumstance as special as this one.

Castillo has a .400 batting average and has hits in all but three games this month. He's on a five-game hitting streak and on the season is batting .306 with 56 runs scored and 11 stolen bases.

"You're going to have to get your rest elsewhere; you're not going to get it watching the game here, I'll tell you that,'' Manuel joked about how he plans to continually use Castillo when he returns. "You have to rest at home, whatever you got to do. But we need to do everything we can to make this [playoff] push."

There's a possibility, Castillo said, that he will make it back to Citi Field at some point Thursday. Whenever he does play next, he'll surpass his games played total from last season (87), proof that he was serious when he talked about getting in better condition this offseason.

The revitalization didn't end during the winter, though. At the end of June, Castillo was batting 's 31 points lower than he is now.

What prompted his current tear, Castillo said, was a question he received from his first child, 7-year-old Luis, in mid-June. When Castillo cost the Mets a win at Yankee Stadium by dropping a pop-up, his son was waiting for him at home.

"The first thing, I see my son and he asked me like, 'Pa, why you drop that fly ball?''' Castillo said. "I tell him, 'I don't want to do it, I don't want to drop the ball.' I have to get better. I want to keep going and show my son that's no way."

"My son now, he watches the game every day," Castillo added. "I want my son to see me play hard and do the best I can in the field."

Castillo said the Mets' four-game win streak has made answering his son's questions a bit easier. He credits Jeff Francoeur's arrival as a boost to the team.

As for Thursday, Castillo said some rest is welcome, but he worries he'll lose his momentum. For the birth of his daughter, he's willing to risk it.

"That's the moment," he said. "When you're retired from baseball, that's what you remember."

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