An office-pool guess on when the Tigers call up Nick Castellanos is June, maybe earlier. Castellanos, who turned 21 on March 4, is close to crashing Comerica Park.

"I'd feel comfortable putting him up there against a left-handed pitcher right now," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Friday when asked about a player Leyland says "is in that terrific prospect category."

Castellanos is 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, and a right-handed hitter who has the pleasing habit of driving pitches to right-center field. In his next at-bat he might wheel on an inside fastball and rip it past the third-base bag for a double, as he did Thursday against the Braves.

This is a gifted hitter dealing with professional baseball's realities. That would explain Leyland's qualifier about batting Castellanos against left-handers if he were to stick him today in a big-league game. Castellanos isn't ready to take on the right-handed arsenal he will see once he makes it to Detroit.

The Tigers and Castellanos are also dealing with a position change from third base to left field. This isn't the easiest transition for a natural left-side infielder. He is an outfield apprentice who in a few weeks probably will head to Triple A Toledo, which will make for a short, one-hour commute when the Tigers place their inevitable phone call.