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Castilla grabs weekly NL honor07/26/2004 10:13 PM ET
By Thomas Harding / MLB.com
DENVER -- Vinny Castilla re-joined the Colorado Rockies this season amid talk that his bat had slowed. A strong season, punctuated by a week of repeatedly sending balls over the fence, has quieted that.
The National League named Castilla its Player of the Week for the period ending Sunday. In four games from Wednesday through Saturday, he homered five times. His homers and his 27 total bases led the league. He also had two doubles, nine runs scored and nine RBIs in the seven games. He posted an .871 slugging percentage and .344 on-base percentage for the week.
"People always are going to talk," said Castilla, 37, who spent the past two seasons with the Atlanta Braves. "Before, when I was younger, it bothered me, what they'd say. Now I don't really care. If people say my bat is slow, whatever."
Castilla was a standout with the Rockies from the inaugural season of 1993 through 1999. After spending time with winning teams in Houston and Atlanta, Castilla signed with a rebuilding squad. The season has been frustrating at times, but outfielders Larry Walker and Preston Wilson are back from injuries and the club is playing better. As a result, Castilla is having fun.
"This is what I play for," he said. "I play to win, and we've been playing great the last couple of weeks," Castilla said. "We've got our lineup. It's a whole different team."
Castilla has been steady. He entered Monday night's home game against Los Angeles batting .284, and his average hasn't fluctuated much. He has been a consistent run producer, with 83 RBIs. The home run spurt, which brought his season total to 21, came after a month-plus homer drought during which he was still productive.
"We're happy for him and proud of him," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "He went through a drought where he didn't have a long ball in a while. We just talked about staying on the ball, hitting line drives, driving in runs.
"He was doing the job hitting fourth and he was able to maintain that during the homerless stretch."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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