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Washington Nationals on having Starlin Castro back in the lineup in 2021...

Starlin Castro played just 16 games last season before an injury ended his 2020 campaign. But he’s back and he’s healthy...

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports

Starlin Castro was 16 games and 63 plate appearances into the first year of his 2-year/$12M deal with the Washington Nationals when he suffered a broken right wrist which required a surgical fix. He promised to return to action if the club made it to the postseason, but that didn’t happen. Castro, 30, is back in camp, healthy, and his GM, manager, and teammates are excited about the possibilities with the 11-year veteran in the lineup for a full season.

“He’s a terrific hitter,” GM and President of Baseball Ops Mike Rizzo said early this spring.

“He’s a big league hitter, a professional hitter, and we feel that he’s going to revert back to the way he’s been his whole career.”

Castro has a .280/.319/.414 career line in the majors, with a 162-game average of 33 doubles and 15 home runs.

“He was off to a good start last year and he broke his wrist, it was unfortunate,” Rizzo added.

“If it would have been a regular schedule season, he would obviously have been back and finished the season strong like he has in the past.

“He’s a guy ... that hits in that .280-.290 range, and he’s a professional hitter.

“He’ll give [manager] Davey [Martinez] a lot of options to hit in a lot of different spots in the lineup, and to me, he could be a high in the lineup guy or a middle of the lineup guy, depending on how we want to construct these things against lefties and righties, so he has been kind of a forgotten guy. He’s a real consumate professional and a guy who can really hit and he’s going to really help our offense.”

Castro has been a middle of the lineup guy for the most part this spring, batting sixth in the mix, which his fellow middle infielder thinks is a good sign of the club’s depth and also kind of ridiculous.

“I think he could be a 2-3-4 hitter, and to have him down there at six today was crazy,” Trea Turner said in a post-game interview late last month.

“We get up there and sure enough he just gets a hit right off the bat. He’s been doing it for so long. I think he has 1,600, 1,700 hits, that’s not by accident. He can really, really hit.”

Since he debuted in the majors in 2010 with the Chicago Cubs (who signed him as an amateur free agent in 2004), Castro has collected 1,633 hits, the fifth-most in the majors over the stretch, behind only Miguel Cabrera (1,646), Adam Jones (1,647), Nick Markakis (1,684), and Robinson Canó (1,749).

Having that bat back in a lineup which now includes Turner, Juan Soto, Josh Bell, Kyle Schwarber, Victor Robles, Carter Kieboom, and Yan Gomes, gives the Nationals some length.

“Just more depth,” Turner said, “and [Castro] can really drive in some runs, I watched him play in Miami for a little bit, against us, and he killed us.”

Castro had a .289/.320/.444 career line vs the Nationals before joining the club.

“To have him for a full season I think will be huge,” Turner continued, “and I think last year he was leading our team in hitting when he got hurt.

“So it’s nice having him back and seeing him healthy, and it’s fun to play up the middle with him.”

Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez, who was bench coach in Chicago in Castro’s sixth year with the Cubs in 2015, before he was traded to New York that winter, talked this week with reporters about what having Castro back could mean for the club.

“His bat-to-ball skills are really impressive. He could look awful swinging at one pitch, and then the next pitch, hit the ball hard somewhere,” Martinez said.

“He’s a good hitter. Here’s a guy if you look at him, he’s not that old, and he’s got [1,633] hits already.

“He puts the ball in play. We don’t want him to change anything. I know a lot of times, we talked about him walking more, but he’s one of those guys where he goes up there and sees a pitch and swings at it, and more times than not he puts the ball in play and hits it hard somewhere. We don’t want to change anything about him. Like I said, he’s got unbelievable bat-to-ball skills. He’s a guy that we can, like I said, that’s going to hit in the middle of our lineup that can do some damage for us, and I’m not just talking about hitting home runs, I’m talking about just moving the baseball everywhere and driving in some key runs for us.”

Martinez was asked if having Castro back in the lineup is a bit of an under the radar addition along with the new bats they added this offseason.

“He’s definitely under the radar. This guy was an All-Star. I think for him, he’ll be a free agent at that end of the year, so he came to Spring Training in unbelievable shape. He missed last year, he was disappointed.

“He wanted to come back last year and play at the last little bit there, and we just told him to get yourself ready for next year, and he looks great so far.”

Wherever his manager hits him in the lineup is fine with Castro, who said early this spring that he was just happy to be back on the field getting ready to play a full season.

“I’m a kind of guy that I don’t really pay attention to where I’m going to hit in the lineup,” he said.

“I just want to be in there. No matter what. I think Davey has the control. Wherever they think that I can do my work, and I can do my job, I think he’s going to put me there.

“I think we’ve got a lot of guys that can hit anywhere in the lineup on this team, so wherever they put me I’m going to do my job.”

He’s impressed with the lineup he’ll be a part of as well.

“I think it’s pretty good. I think it’s really good. We got deep. We got Schwarber. We’ve — [Ryan] Zimmerman’s back. We got Bell. Obviously Turner and Soto are going to be at the top of the lineup.

“I think we’re pretty deep in the lineup. I think we’re pretty good.”