Notes: Castro's fate a tough decision

Notes: Castro's fate a tough decision

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Fabio Castro has a Major League arm and stuff, but he may not be ready for the Majors this season, which presents a dilemma to the Rangers.

Castro turned 21 in January, and last season in the Carolina League, he held opponents to a .209 batting average, had a 2.28 ERA and struck out 75 in 79 innings over 53 relief appearances.

Castro, who has never pitched above Class A, is a Rule 5 Draft pick, which means the Rangers have to keep him on their 25-man roster all season or offer him back to the White Sox.

Castro did not look ready to make the jump from Winston-Salem to Texas in a relief outing Thursday against the Royals, allowing four earned runs on four hits, including a home run, and a walk. He retired just two of the seven batters he faced.

"We're trying to get a good look at Castro," Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. "We've got to make a decision sometime on him this spring. He has got a good arm. I could see why he's highly thought of. I'll continue to run him out there and see what adjustments he's able to make as we go. I thought his breaking ball was a lot better [Thursday]."

The Rangers would like to keep his arm in the organization, so if he fails to make the Major League club, they could offer to make a trade for him and send him to the Minors.

"[With] Rule 5 picks, there are different dynamics working there," Showalter said. "You've got to make the judgment when you make the pick and when you see him on, on whether he is ready for the next level. In the American League, it is tough to carry a pitcher that can't be productive and eat up innings, we know that."

Under the lights: R.A. Dickey was pleased to draw an evening assignment to advance his knuckleball education.

"I was very thankful for the opportunity to throw at night just because that is how it is going to be during the year," Dickey said Friday. "When you're out in the daytime and there is no wind and no humidity [in Arizona], it is a tough place to throw it. I've been real fortunate. I've had a pretty good one because I've got a lot of swings and misses. That is how you judge a knuckleball -- mishits and miss swings."

He yielded one run on five hits in three innings against Team Japan, which started five left-handed hitters Thursday night.

"The great thing about the knuckleball [is] it totally doesn't matter," Dickey said on whether the batter swings right or left. "It is surely inconsequential."

He said Japanese hitters take "like a two-strike approach" on every swing, making them difficult to strike out. He struck out three, including Ichiro Suzuki.

"I think that might have frustrated them, getting struck out by something 60 (mph). They don't have knuckleballers in Japan," Dickey said. "I was changing speeds on it last night for the first time. I've always had the hard knuckle, even when I pitched conventionally. They called it the thing or whatever; really what it was was a hard knuckleball. I hadn't thrown that all spring. Last night, I threw probably a handful. It made a big difference. Now they have to worry about two speeds of the knuckleball and that is good."

Ring him up: Jamie Burke, a non-roster invitee, will soon have something no one else in the Rangers camp will possess -- a 2005 World Series ring.

Burke had spent the previous three seasons in the White Sox organization. He appeared in one game and had one at-bat in six days with Chicago in 2005, but that was enough to be fitted for that ring every player covets.

"I think I will get it at the beginning of the season," Burke said. "They called me a couple of weeks ago to get my ring size. I think they'll probably send out the rings to the guys no longer with them.

"Obviously, it means a lot. Think of all the hard work put in and I've been around this game a long time. It is something that I never did expect, but it just happened. It is a blessing. It is one of the most amazing things you think about when it comes to baseball, winning the World Series and getting that ring.

"It would have been nice to contribute more, but they had guys who did that, who did a good job. It would have been nice to be in a few more games and help them win, but that's the way everything goes."

Burke said he would likely wear the ring on special occasions.

"I'm sure I'll want to wear it every day when I get it, but you just can't," he said. "I'm not a ring-type guy. My wedding ring is the [jewelry] I wear every day. I don't need anything else on."

Upcoming: Right-hander Kameron Loe will start Saturday against the Rockies at Surprise Stadium, beginning at 2:05 p.m. CT. Juan Acevedo is the probable Colorado starter.

Alan Eskew is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.