ajc.com | Braves | Questions swarm third base

For instance:

Is Vinny the Mole?

Did Lockhart sell his pictures to Vinny?

If a group of Braves fans passed Vinny on the street, can they chase him down and lynch him?

Would any court convict them?

In what universe is Vinny currently residing?

“I feel good; I feel great,” said Castilla, who went into Monday night’s game against Cleveland batting .190 in 42 at-bats, with one double, no home runs and the same number of RBIs (four) as double plays grounded into.

“I’m ready now. I’m ready to start the season. That’s what spring training’s for, to get ready. [Statistics] don’t matter in spring training, as long as you break camp healthy.”

“I haven’t lost anything,” he said. “I had [45] RBIs at the All-Star break. I was on pace for 100 RBIs. My injury just kept getting worse.”

Is Bobby in that same universe?

Braves manager Bobby Cox said Castilla, 35, has hit the ball hard recently, despite his average. It’s become clear that Cox is tired of answering Castilla–DeRosa questions.

He said in the first week of camp that DeRosa would get more time at third than last season, but he indicated that Castilla was still the primary third baseman. Cox plans to play DeRosa at every infield position except first base.

If Castilla struggles for an extended period again, De?osa could get more starts.

Cox is sticking with Castilla, for now, because the veteran plays superior defense and is under contract for $4.5 million. He doesn’t play another position and has only five pinch-hit at-bats in the past three seasons.

“[Vinny] was instrumental for us last year with his defense,” Cox said. “He should have won the Gold Glove. But people don’t talk about defense.”

Are the Braves good enough to carry the worst hitting regular in the major leagues again?

I can answer the last question: No.