No regrets for departed Castro

For the first time in nearly 18 years, the Brewers prepared for a game on Wednesday and Bill Castro wasn’t part of it.

The team dismissed Castro earlier in the day, so he spent the day fielding calls from well-wishers — including what Castro called a particularly touching call from former Brewers president Wendy Selig-Prieb — and pondering what went wrong. By the time players were trotting off the field after batting practice, Castro was out on his backyard deck with his family, tending to some chicken on the grill.

“After being there so many years, it’s different,” he said. “There’s a baseball game, and I’m not going. But you have to move on. This is a business, and I was the face of the pitching staff so I was the one to go. That’s how it works in baseball.”

Castro, who pitched 11 of his 14 professional seasons for the Brewers, then spent four years as a coach in Milwaukee’s Minor League chain, had been the Brewers bullpen coach through 17 seasons and six different managers before finally getting a promotion to pitching coach last winter. His tenure lasted only 112 games, during which Brewers pitchers ranked 27th in the Major Leagues with a 4.84 ERA while allowing a Major League-leading 151 home runs.  The staff also issued 421 walks, fifth-most in the Majors.

Injuries to Dave Bush, Seth McClung and Jeff Suppan hurt, and so did the struggles of Manny Parra and Carlos Villanueva. All were holdovers from 2008, and that familiarity was one of the reasons general manager Doug Melvin convinced incoming manager Ken Macha to give Castro a shot.

It just didn’t work out.

“I know Doug feels bad, and I feel worse,” Castro said. “They felt they needed to make a change. I don’t have any regrets. I did the best I could with what I had. The worst thing was losing Bush and Suppan because that had a domino effect.”

He would be open to remaining in the organization as an instructor, and said Melvin suggested getting lunch in the coming days. Castro expressed no regret about leaving the relative security of his bullpen post for the spotlight that accompanies a Major League pitching coach.

“I always wanted to be a big league pitching coach, and it was especially special that it happened for me in Milwaukee,” he said. “This is the only organization that I’ve known, basically. Everything I have done in baseball is thanks to the Brewers. But they had a make a change, and I was the guy.”

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