Phillies don't rule out interest in Castillo

The Mets have released second baseman Luis Castillo. (Carlos Osorio/AP Photo)

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Across the state this morning, the New York Mets, not exactly rife with cash these days, ate $6 million to release their former All-Star and Gold Glove second baseman without a clear replacement for him.

That probably says enough about the current state of Luis Castillo's 35-year-old body, but it doesn't mean the Phillies have ruled out possibly bringing in Castillo for a look-see at second, where a gaping hole remains without Chase Utley.

"That remains to be seen," assistant GM Scott Proefrock said when asked about the team's interest in Castillo.

Any club that picks up Castillo would only have to pay the major-league minimum of $414,000, but he managed just a .604 OPS in 86 games last season.

In one National League scout's opinion, Castillo has not looked like a suitable option this spring -- especially defensively. He is 8 for 28 with three walks in Grapefruit League play.

Proefrock said the team has been impressed with the Grapefruit League play of Wilson Valdez, Delwyn Young, Josh Barfield, Pete Orr and Michael Martinez -- all of whom can play some second.

"I think we are very comfortable" with the current players, Proefrock said. "It's a hell of a competition. They've all played very well."

As for Utley, he was back in camp Friday after visiting a mystery rehab specialist who showed the second baseman new exercises for the chronic patellar tendinitis in his right knee. Utley took batting practice but did no more movement than before.

Utley declined comment Friday morning. Does the team think the new exercises could help?

"Too early to tell," Proefrock said. "We'll have to see how it plays out."

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