Once a catcher and Tulsa Driller, first baseman Ryan Casteel has found a place with the Travelers. Drafted in the 17th round in 2010 by the Colorado Rockies, Casteel was acquired by the Mariners last December. In 2014, Casteel played with the Drillers and participated in the all-star game at Dickey-Stephens Park. A Tennessee native, Casteel accepted a scholarship to the University of Tennessee, but after not getting drafted in 2009 decided to attend Cleveland State Community College (Cleveland, Tenn.) to become eligible for the draft earlier.
How is it being back in the Texas League?
In 2014, I was in Little Rock a lot. The Texas League is tough, and Little Rock is a conducive to having a AA team. Because I was here before, I know all the places to go and not to go.
You’ve experienced some injuries. How have you dealt with them?
I tore my quad and fractured my face when I was at Tulsa. I was only out a week at Tulsa. With the quad injury in 2015, I was out for two months. My wife and I were in Arizona, and it felt like we were out on an island. I’m very thankful to be able to play.
Why the switch from catching to first base?
I have more opportunity. I can still catch but playing first gives me more opportunity as an everyday player.
Have you always wanted to be a professional baseball player?
I’m been playing baseball since I was three. I tried basketball and football but never enjoyed them.
Besides the Big Leagues, what are your goals?
To have a family and be a good husband and father. I would like to go back and get a business degree and maybe coach someday.
What do you do on your off days?
My wife and I like to be outside. We’ll do things like go to the Big Dam Bridge and like to try new places to eat.
What do you do in the off-season?
Go back to Chattanooga and train every day. I also give lessons after the first month or two.
Do you have siblings?
I have three younger brothers and two play baseball and both are good. The 8th grader is a left-handed pitcher, and the sixth grader is a middle infielder. The 8th grader is really quiet, but the sixth grader is always going.