Leyland: Castellanos needs time in outfield

Leyland: Castellanos needs time in outfield

Leyland: Castellanos needs time in outfield
DETROIT -- Four days have passed since Tigers top hitting prospect Nick Castellanos made the move from third base to outfield at Double-A Erie, and already the watch is on for if and when the 20-year-old will be called up to help the Major League club.

Despite Castellanos batting .363 in the Minors this season and recently being named the Most Valuable Player of the Futures Game, manager Jim Leyland said Monday he doesn't expect that roster move to be made anytime soon.

"He's one of those special guys, so I wouldn't put anything past him, but right now, that would be on the back burner for me," Leyland said.

It was known that Castellanos had been shagging fly balls in the outfield, but it was surprising to see him penciled into the SeaWolves' lineup in right field Thursday, the first game coming out of the All-Star break. The decision supposedly came down that day.

The sudden move caused a stir that Castellanos' arrival could come sooner rather than later. So did Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski's comments to the Detroit News in a story that ran Wednesday.

"It's a situation with Miguel [Cabrera] at third base, and with him being very comfortable there and doing a good job, there's the potential [Castellanos] could get some playing time in the outfield," Dombrowski told the Detroit News' Lynn Henning.

Still, that playing time isn't expected to happen this year at the Major League level.

"That would be a surprise to me," Leyland said. "That's an awful big jump, particularly now that he's playing the outfield."

Leyland didn't want to assess Castellanos' performance in right field thus far, stating it wouldn't be right to critique his abilities through five games, especially since Castellanos hasn't played in the outfield since his freshman year in high school.

"It think it's unfair to the kid ... it's unfair to the instructors and everybody else that he's been out there for three or four days and [to say how] he looks," Leyland said. "I mean, how much can you tell in three or four days? Can he catch a fly ball? Yeah, I can catch a fly ball, [too]. ... Let's let that take its course and see what happens."

However, with 24 doubles, seven home runs and 47 RBIs through 87 games, Leyland said: "If he keeps hitting, he'll look like a pretty good outfielder."