By John Fay
The Cincinnati Enquirer
SARASOTA, Fla. - Juan Castro feels good this spring.
Castro set career highs in nearly every offensive category last year. Long known as a fielding specialist, the versatile infielder put up decent offensive numbers - .253, nine home runs, 33 RBI in 320 at-bats - and did so despite rarely being 100 percent physically.
Utility infielder Juan Castro.
(Michael E. Keating photo)
He started the year on the disabled list as a result of offseason surgery on his left knee. He was recalled from a rehab assignment at Triple-A Louisville when shortstop Barry Larkin went on the DL April 14.
Castro remained with the Reds the rest of year. But he dealt with a stiff back and a sore right knee.
In 2002, he missed April and May with strained hamstring.
All that's behind him.
"I feel great," he said. "No problems at all.'
Castro, 31, figures to get a lot of action again this season. He's probably the only backup infielder guaranteed a spot on the Opening Day roster.
Castro's versatility makes him valuable.
He can play all the infield positions. He is a defensive upgrade over the projected starters at second and third. He's also likely to get some time at shortstop, because Larkin doesn't play on an everyday basis anymore.
Castro likes working with Randy Whisler, the coach in charge of infielders.
"It's nice," Castro said. "He comes from the same school as I came up with the (Los Angeles) Dodgers."
ALL WET: The Reds' activities were still limited Saturday by wet fields.
They were able to use only the main field at Ed Smith Stadium and one other field. The outfields on other fields remained too wet.
"It hasn't been too bad," Reds manager Dave Miley said. "We've got the program set up, so we can do it on one field."
MILES PLEASED: The Reds are down to two two-a-day sessions before things break up because of the intrasquad games. Miley is happy with what has been accomplished.
"Very pleased," he said. "Not only with the major league staff, but the minor league staff has said every station has gone well. The focus, concentration and energy have been there."
Miley isn't ready to point to who has looked good in camp.
"I've watched everybody," he said. "I don't want to point out anyone. But, as a group, the effort has been there."
BENGALS / NFL
Lewis is flexible in free-agent approach
Bengals' free agents
Daugherty: Benching Kitna's a bad move for Bengals
Bears may put Clarett on wish list
Preparing for draft now a full-time job
REDS / BASEBALL
Nomad hoping he's finally found home
Reds e-mail Q&A
Cubs line up aces for Reds
Healthy Castro fits role like glove
Kelly: Garciaparra still reeling from offseason fiasco
Boone vows he'll return this season
'Special' baseball records clouded by suspicion
Cubs give Lee 3-year contract
Bearcats back on top in C-USA
Smaller rotation pays big dividends
Musketeers finally fall off tightrope, derailing hopes
NCAA hopes dealt blow
Kentucky, LSU heading in opposite directions
RedHawks hit pothole in quest for No. 3 seed
Top 25: Stanford, St. Joe's stay the course
Creager's 22 points lead NKU women
Groeschen: Freeman records remain mystery
Ernst: These guys on family plan
Taft lackluster in opening-round win
Landmark knocked off by Southeastern
Five sent to hospital after post-game brawl
Lakota East's Johnson, C-M's Thobaben win titles
Campbell Co. makes it look easy in winning title
Sr. Carothers guides Bombers to victory
Stowers, Long win 1-meter diving titles
Lakota West, Anderson headed for state
SUNDAY PAGE TWO
Good sports: Wrestler driven by determination
XU tennis players near singles mark
What's up with that?
A quick chat with ... Scott Smith
This week's sports poll
MORE SPORTS HEADLINES
Woods vs. Love in Match Play final
Silas understands Baker's demons
Nets' Martin blocks it to 'em
Sports on TV, radio
Return to Reds front page...