Nick Castellanos has played a few different defensive positions since making his Major League debut in 2013. In his time in Detroit, Castellanos mainly played third base early in his career. Later in his tenure in the Motor City he made the transition to corner outfield— mainly playing right field.
Since leaving Detroit, Castellanos has been a right fielder for the most part over his time in Chicago, Cincinnati, and now Philadelphia. While he has played some left field, center field is a position that the 31-year-old has never played. That all changed Tuesday night in the All-Star game at T-Mobile Park in Seattle when Castellanos took center field in the fifth inning replacing Mookie Betts.
Castellanos alluded to the idea that the Phillies and National League manager Rob Thomson told him that he may be playing center field in the Midsummer Classic:
Phillies fans would likely be surprised to hear that their right fielder would be getting a look at a new defensive position. While his defense has certainly improved in the outfield since his arrival in Philadelphia, it is highly unlikely that Castellanos would see time at the position during a more meaningful game during the regular season.
Castellanos saw some early work. In the bottom of the fifth inning Baltimore Orioles' center fielder Austin Hays singled to Castellanos to give him his first action of the game. The newly christened center fielder then struck out on four pitches in his first plate appearance in the top of the sixth inning.
Castellanos saw plenty of action at the plate, but did not see much on the defensive side. In his second plate appearance, Castellanos walked to begin the top of the eighth inning. He subsequently advanced to second base on a wild pitch, then scored on a home run from Elias Diaz which gave his team a 3-2 lead. The National League center fielder came to the plate one more time in the top of the ninth inning and singled to left field but was ultimately stranded.
He would not see any other direct action in center field, but Castellanos' contributions at the plate helped the National League gain the lead.
Phillies' Craig Kimbrel called on to closer out All-Star game
Phillies' closer Craig Kimbrel was called on to finish the game and give the National League its first win since 2012. The right-hander threw 30 pitches as things got a bit dicey for him. Kimbrel got the first batter of the inning to fly out to right field, then struck out the next batter. He then surrendered two straight walks but struck out Jose Ramirez to end the game.
The National League finally won an All-Star game. With Thomson as manager, Castellanos getting on base twice and scoring a run, and Kimbrel getting the save, the Phillies representatives had quite an impact on the outcome of the game. While winning the All-Star game is fun, the Phillies will hope that they can get on a roll after the break.
While there may be some positional changes after the All-Star break, don't expect Castellanos to get an encore performance in center field anytime soon.