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 Minnesota Twins twins Players twins 17 Juan Castro; Short Stop
     
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Juan Gabriel Castro 17 Juan Castro; Short Stop

Name: Juan Gabriel Castro
Birth date: 06/20/1972
Birthplace: Los Mochis, Mexico
Height: 5-11
Weight: 195
School: N/A
Draft: undrafted free agent
Nickname: Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Position: Short Stop
Experience: 10 years
2005 Salary: $1,000,000
Contract Status: signed 2-year deal thru 2006 season worth 2.05M on 11/13/04; deal includes 2007 option worth 1M or a 50K buyout and performance incentives
Service Time: 8.024

Minnesota Twins Short Stop, Juan Castro, was born June 20, 1972 in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico. He graduated from CBTIS 43 High School in Los Mochis in 1990. Juan made his Major League debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers on September 2, 1995. Playing for the Dodgers was especially meaningful for Juan, as he idolized fellow Mexican and former Dodgers pitching superstar Fernando Valenzuela as a child. Juan played for the Dodgers through the 1999 season and then for the Cincinnati Reds from 2000 to 2004.

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In 2005, Juan was signed by the Minnesota Twins as a backup to rookie shortstop Jason Bartlett. Bartlett showed promise early in the season, but began to slump at the plate and was sent down to the minor leagues. Loving his new starting job, Juan has become a fan favorite for his spectacular defensive plays.

Juan can show surprising hitting power, but he is more consistent when he is not over-swinging and trying to take balls where they're pitched. He often guesses on first-pitch fastballs, though he did hit .347 when putting the first pitch into play last season. Juan is not a base stealing threat, but has solid average running speed. He has the skills to play anywhere in the infield, though his range and arm seem best suited at second base or shortstop.

Juan’s experience in the MLB has suited him well. In 2004, he made 66 starts at four different positions (35 at third base, 21 at shortstop, 7 at second base and 3 at first base). He established career-highs in runs and doubles. In 2005, the Twins settled him mainly at shortstop starting him in 67 games. He also started in 13 games at third base and 3 at second base. He also tied for seventh in the league for sacrifice hits.

The small-market Twins signed Juan to a two-year, $2.05 million deal. He really is not suited to be an everyday option, but the Twins will give him a chance to compete for the starting job at shortstop. If he doesn't win the position outright, he still should see plenty of time as a backup to youngster Jason Bartlett and as a versatile option around the infield.

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