New Orioles catcher Welington Castillo could miss up to 18 days of spring training while playing for the Dominican Republic in this year's World Baseball Classic, but he doesn't believe his absence will hinder his ability to get accustomed to a new team and a brand new pitching staff.

Castillo, who signed a one-year, $6 million deal with a $7 million player option for 2018 this offseason, said he has had to adjust on the fly to a new staff before when he was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks from the Seattle Mariners in June 2015. This will be Castillo's fourth team since the beginning of the 2015 season.


"I think I'm going to have enough time to know them," Castillo said. "… It's not going to take me a long time because when I was traded to Arizona, it's going to be the same thing almost like [when] you get traded to another team when you don't know the pitching staff, you've got to get to know them pretty quick. I feel that I'm going to be good and that everybody in here knows what to do, too, so it's going to be easier for me."

Castillo said he debated whether to participate in the World Baseball Classic, but ultimately decided it was too rare of an opportunity to pass up. The Dominican Republic won the last WBC in 2013, and is among the favorites to win again this year.

"Honestly, I was a little bit in between because I know I'm going to a new team, new players, new pitching staff," Castillo said. "I'm going to have time to get to know them. At the same time, I want to represent my country. It's a really good experience that you go there.

"We are blessed because the Dominican Republic has a lot of good players, but the WBC is every three or four years, so who is going to guarantee me that I'll still be in baseball in three or four more years? Why not go there and get the experience. I have a lot of guys there who I practice with in the offseason, so you're going to be around them. And you're competing against other teams and other players, too, so I think it's going to be a good experience and the competition is going to be good, too."

In replacing longtime starter Matt Wieters, the 29-year-old Castillo said he's focusing on improving defensively after his 10 passed balls tied for the National League lead and his seven errors were fourth most among NL catchers last season. He worked with former big league catcher Jose Molina in Puerto Rico for a week this past offseason.

"It was about the setting behind the plate, how you present your target and your body behind the plate to the pitcher," Castillo said. "Just play with the pitch he's going to throw and get to know the guy on the mound. It was more mentally than anything, so he was one of the best behind the plate receiving, so why not work with him and learn from him?"

Castillo said he will lean on backup Caleb Joseph to help him learn about the Orioles staff. And Joseph said he believes Castillo will make the adjustment easily.

"Yeah, it's something that I think during bullpen action you're going to be able to sit down and talk about guys," Joseph said. "… But it will be one of those things that after a bullpen session, you go and talk and he's already come to me and we've talked a little bit about certain guys. It's a process and luckily for me I've never had any other pitching staff really in my career. I can't imagine what it's like to go to a new team and have 40 different guys, trying to learn 40 different personalities. But we'll catch him up to speed as best we can, and he's a great guy, a great learner. No doubt that he'll pick it up really quickly."

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