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Sveum wants Castillo to build up strength, velocity

Sveum wants Castillo to build up strength, velocity

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Sveum wants Castillo to build up strength, velocity
MESA, Ariz. -- Manager Dale Sveum said Monday that decisions regarding the Cubs' bullpen will come down to the 11th hour.

Perhaps the most intriguing of those 11th-hour arms is 22-year-old righty Lendy Castillo, whom the club selected from the Phillies in the Rule 5 Draft. He completed his spring on Monday with a shaky, but scoreless inning, and on Tuesday Sveum said he still isn't certain about the state of his pen.

The Cubs only hope to retain Castillo would be keeping him with the big league team, though doing so would mean Castillo is making the jump from Class A to the Majors.

"He's done OK," manager Dale Sveum said before club's final spring training game on Tuesday. "The velocity isn't quite what it was earlier in camp. But he's been pitching a lot more than he probably ever has. That's one thing we've had to eyeball. He had to get built up. If he's going to be in that role, he's going to have to pitch quite a bit."

And he has pitched quite a bit in the Cactus League, appearing in more games -- 11 -- than any other Cubs pitcher. With a shaky, but scoreless ninth on Monday Castillo finished the spring with a 3.46 ERA in 13 innings pitched. He's had some control problems, walking 13 hitters.

Castillo last pitched with Philadelphia's Class A club, Lakewood in the South Atlantic League. A converted shortstop, Castillo has never appeared in more than 21 games in a season. In 2010 he was used primarily as a starter, where he threw 65 innings, and in 2011 Castillo logged 46 innings, mostly out of the bullpen.

"In the National League, you can't have a guy that's non-usable, so, he's got to be built up to where he could pitch three innings, get to 50-60 pitches once in a while," Sveum said. "He's not the biggest framed guy in the world to put a workload on, but he's got to get used to it."

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