Diego Castillo returns to the Trop in a new uniform for Seattle series

The former Rays reliever says it is strange to be back in St. Pete, but makes it clear this is a business trip.
New Mariner Diego Castillo is already back at Tropicana Field just days after the Rays traded him.
New Mariner Diego Castillo is already back at Tropicana Field just days after the Rays traded him. [ TONY GUTIERREZ | Associated Press ]
Published Aug. 2, 2021|Updated Aug. 3, 2021

ST. PETERSBURG — It’s been a wild five days for Diego Castillo.

Thursday: unexpectedly traded from the Rays to the Mariners.

“I was actually a little sad when I heard the news,” he said via interpreter Manny Navarro. “I never thought that I’d actually get traded.”

Then, before he could fully adjust to a new organization and a new coast ...

Monday: returned to Tropicana Field with the new team for a three-day stint against the old one.

“It’s a little crazy,” he said about coming back so soon. “You get traded, you leave for a few days and then come back to the team that you originally had. It is a little crazy.”

He is grateful for the opportunity the Rays organization gave him and his time in Tampa Bay, but “once I put on the Seattle uniform, I can’t go back and remind myself about them being my teammates. I have to go out there and just do my job.”

Manager Kevin Cash said he hoped Castillo would get these three days off. Cash reiterated how much the new Mariner meant to the Rays’ bullpen during his eight-year tenure with Tampa Bay and adamantly refuted — on his own accord — recent reports suggesting the team traded him away because of a lackluster work ethic.

“Couldn’t be more false,” Cash said. “The guy took the ball every single time we wanted him to. ... Wish him nothing but the best.”

Hip soreness to delay Chris Archer comeback

The return of righty Chris Archer, who has been out since April with right forearm issues, likely has been delayed again after he experienced left hip soreness Sunday.

He threw 31 pitches for three runs in one inning before he was taken off the mound in a Triple-A Durham game. Cash said Archer will stay there to continue treatment and be re-evaluated. But with the way the Rays do things, it’s looking like the injury will push back his previously scheduled comeback.

“It’ll probably delay him from being on a five-day start from Sunday, but maybe it doesn’t,” Cash said. “And if it does, just a little bit.”

He also said Archer seemed optimistic. Monday normally would have been a non-throwing day, so Tuesday he’ll play catch and see how his hip feels.

In more bullpen news, two pitchers the Rays recently designated for assignment were claimed on waivers Monday: Jake Reed by the Mets and Sean Poppen by the Diamondbacks.

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⋅ Given Florida’s recent spike in COVID-19 cases, the Rays started having all game-day personnel (which includes custodial staff, fan hosts, concessions and security) at Tropicana Field wear masks again.

When asked about how this spike may impact the team, Cash said the organization is monitoring the situation: “We all kinda had our fingers crossed that we were gonna get past this to an extent, but it doesn’t feel that way right now. So we’ll try to do our due diligence in keeping our group as safe as possible.”

⋅ Rays prospect Shane Baz started in the United State’s 7-6, 10-inning loss to host country Japan at the Olympics on Monday morning. He pitched 2 ⅔ innings, walked three batters, struck out one and allowed five hits for two earned runs.

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