MESA, Ariz. – One spot in the clubhouse at HoHoKam Stadium means everything to Chicago Cubs catcher Welington Castillo.
The 25-year-old is stationed in the outer-most locker among the catcher’s section of veterans and prospects. It’s the spot the Geovany Soto occupied for several years as the Cubs’ No. 1 catcher.
“It means a lot, but I am the kind of person that even though I have a job, I am not going to be comfortable,” Castillo said before Thursday’s 8-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox. “I am going to play hard until I get the best out of me.”
More than anything, he wants to stay healthy after several stints on the disabled list in recent years. He looked good against the White Sox despite going 0-for-3 at the plate.
The fans at HoHoKam oohed and aahed when Castillo made a behind-the-back catch near the White Sox dugout on Jared Mitchell’s pop foul in the fifth inning.
The first of two Paul Konerko home runs started an avalanche of hits as Adam Dunn hit a two-run shot in the fifth after Jeff Keppinger doubled. Konerko followed with his second for back-to-back shots.
Castillo had a chance to catch right-handed starter Carlos Villanueva. In his third outing of the spring, he totaled four innings and allowed six hits, two earned runs and no walks, with three strikeouts.
“I had a very good bullpen [in between outings] and it carried over until today,” Villanueva said. “You take the hits. The home run Konerko hit [in the fourth inning] was a real surprise to me. I threw it exactly where I wanted, right there on his hands.”
White Sox starter Jose Quintana had a good start as he helped limit the Cubs to six hits. The right-hander went 3 2/3 innings as he allowed two hits, one earned run on a Nate Schierholtz’s first-inning RBI triple, and one walk, with four strikeouts.
“I am trying to stay consistent and trying to prepare myself for the season,” Quintana said through an interpreter. “I basically did the same thing as last start [3 perfect innings against Cincinnati on March 2].”