- Adam Rubin, ESPN Staff Writer
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Luis Castillo met with Terry Collins on Sunday morning. And Castillo told his manager there was a medical issue in his family that prevented him from arriving earlier.
Castillo said his 50-year old brother, Julio Cesar, is undergoing serious surgery Monday.
Collins never would have even raised the issue of his preference for Castillo to arrive earlier had Castillo mentioned the situation during their midweek phone conversation.
"I know my situation here, and I try to be focused on baseball," Castillo said. "But that's not easy, because my brother is my family. Tomorrow is a big day for me. I hope nothing happens because I have to show people here, and I don't want to think about my brother, but I have to do it."
Castillo did not want to elaborate on the health issue.
"A big problem," he said. "I can't say, because only me and his wife" know the problem.
As for baseball, Castillo said: "I feel good. I feel 100 percent. You know how it was for me last year. I'm going to start over with focus and play hard and do the best I can. If something happens, it happens. But I feel good because we have a new manager and GM."
Castillo understands he's in a fight for his Mets career. Sandy Alderson indicated over the winter it's pretty much starting second baseman or bust for Castillo, because his fielding and power limitations don't make him attractive off the bench.
"I'm ready, and I feel like I can still play," Castillo said. "I'll give everything I have this spring training. ... I want to forget everything that happened last year and move on. ... I understand that. So that's on me. If I don't do my job, you have to do something. Like I said, I want to give everything I have in spring training."