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Nick Castellanos still searching for answers as Phillies RF works way out of season-long funk

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Nick Castellanos is still searching for answers toward his approach at the plate. The Philadelphia Phillies right fielder can't explain how he's finding his way out of a slump that's plagued him the first two weeks of the season, even though he believes he's turning a corner. 

"I feel better, since the St. Louis series for sure," Castellanos said after Friday's loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. "My swing is coming out more often."

Castellanos had a hit in Friday's loss but was booed by some of the 35,578 fans in attendance after a swinging strikeout in the ninth inning. His average is at .160 through two weeks of the season and is hitting just .182 (2-for-11) since a two-hit night in St. Louis on Tuesday. 

Castellanos has eight hits on the season, all singles. 

"I think his mental makeup is good," said Phillies manager Rob Thompson. "He wants to grind through this thing. He's working very hard to get through it." 

One of the streakiest hitters on the Phillies, Castellanos is going through another one of his funks. He hit .162 last July with an on-base percentage of .194 after notching a .351 average last June with a .387 on-base percentage — numbers that propelled him to an All-Star appearance. 

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Philadelphia Phillies' Nick Castellanos plays during the first inning of a baseball game, Friday, April 12, 2024, in Philadelphia. Matt Rourke / AP

Last postseason, Castellanos was hitting .345 with five home runs and seven RBI through Game 2 of the NLCS — carrying the Phillies' offense. He finished the postseason 0-for-18, as the Phillies ended up losing the series in seven games.

Castellanos hasn't had an extra-base hit since Game 2 of the NLCS, a span of 19 games. 

"I really don't have an answer," Castellanos said as he's working on figuring out his issues at the plate. "I stand different all the time. A lot has something to do with who I'm facing."

"When I feel really good, I start doing stuff but I don't know what I'm doing. I'm just playing. When I start thinking too much and I try to stop chasing and become more disciplined, thinking can get in the way of something that I do. And honestly, I don't know how I do it."

"Don't think, just do" is the approach Castellanos is taking. He's slowly getting back to the level he's comfortable with, even if the results haven't shown yet. 

"I think, for me, it's just back to finding work that I believe in," Castellanos said. "And then, having fun is huge too. Hitting is hard enough and if you're in a bad mood — and you're trying to figure (it) out, your chances (of success) are pretty low. 

"You start enjoying yourself, having fun, and starting to appreciate the people around you, you'll be in a better mood," Castellanos continued. "Happy people hit better." 

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