Catching perfecto an honor for Castro
Backup makes history in first game working with Buehrle
CHICAGO -- Ramon Castro didn't know what he was getting himself into Thursday at U.S. Cellular Field.
It was an achievement Castro won't soon forget.
"For me, it's an honor, especially a guy like him," Castro said of Buehrle. "He's an All-Star, he's thrown a no-hitter before."
Castro was filling in for A.J. Pierzynski as he usually does in a day game following a night game. Castro said Pierzynski had some words of advice for him before the game to help him catch the fast-paced left-hander.
"He explained to me a couple things that helped me a lot," Castro said. "He said to work a lot with his slider when he is behind the count and we did that. Oh my God, and his curveball. Every pitch was working, sinkers -- it was his day today."
Pierzynski couldn't help but feel just a little jealous that he wasn't in to catch the southpaw. He caught Buehrle's first no-hitter back on April 18, 2007, against the Rangers at U.S. Cellular Field.
Pierzynski was warming up with Buehrle before the start of the ninth inning and accidentally tossed the ball over Buehrle's head. It didn't break Buehrle's focus, but nothing really could on this day.
In fact, before the game, Buehrle and Pierzynski joked about throwing a perfect game.
"He was running his mouth before the game because he always says he doesn't finish games anymore," Pierzynski said of Buehrle. "I said, 'Well, go out and finish one.' He's like, 'Nah.' I said, 'Go out and throw a no-hitter,' and he said, 'I already got one of those.' I was like, 'Go out and throw a perfect game.'
"We were kind of joking back and forth, and [Buehrle] said, 'OK, I just might.' Every inning, he and I were sitting up here [in the dugout] joking back and forth. Then, in the ninth, I came up and said, 'Hey, you got three more outs, let's do this.' He was just laughing. There's superstitions, but with Mark, he just has fun with it.''
Castro said he had never been a part of a no-hitter before and that his nerves started getting to him. By the seventh inning, though, he thought Buehrle was going to pull it off.
"Oh my God, I was shaking a little bit," Castro said.
Of course, that didn't seem to matter. He followed Buehrle's pregame plan to perfection. Literally.
"You put it down, and I'll throw it," Buehrle told Castro. "Hopefully, I'll get it where you want it."
David Just is a contributor to MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.