TAMPA, Fla. — Starlin Castro has been busy getting acclimated to a new clubhouse and adjusting to playing second base, but on Monday, that was put on hold for two days by something less enjoyable: root canal surgery.
The Yankees were on the road for spring training Tuesday and are again Wednesday, but their new infielder has stayed at Steinbrenner Field after a trip to the dentist Monday. He took batting practice as one of 13 hitters that didn’t make the trip and will do the same Wednesday, returning to the lineup Thursday.
“I’ve never played with the guys in this clubhouse and now we’re together. I think we have a really good group,” Castro said of building chemistry quickly in spring training. “That’s what I have to do: Learn my teammates and try to be a good teammate like they are. I feel pretty good, especially getting familiarity with my teammates.”
Castro, 25, has proved to be a prolific hitter — he needs only eight hits with the Yankees to reach 1,000 for his career after six productive seasons with the Cubs. Until last season, that had been entirely at shortstop. Last year, he started working at second base, with six errors in 38 games. That’s comparable to how he’s fared at shortstop, with a career fielding percentage of .963 at shortstop and .957 last season at second. That’s where he’ll line up for the Yankees, working alongside shortstop Didi Gregorius.
The Yankees should see much more offensively with Castro at second — he went 2-for-3 in his spring debut with an RBI double, and is 3-for-11 after four games. Last year, Stephen Drew hit .201, but Castro should be a spark for the Yankees’ lineup.
“I feel good at second base,” he said. “Me and Didi work together every day, and just try to start feeling really comfortable out there and off the field.”