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Cleveland – You have to admire his perseverance.

If Nick Castellanos isn’t able to make it back before the end of this season, it won’t be for a lack of trying. He left the team Saturday bound for Lakeland, where he can get some swings against live pitching.

“He’s going to get a couple of days of batting practice down there and then once the (Instructional League) players get there, he will hit against them Monday and Tuesday,” manager Brad Ausmus said.

Castellanos, who has been out with the broken left hand since Aug. 6, wasn’t ready or able to take full swings against Jordan Zimmermann in a simulated game Wednesday. But he has felt better taking swings in the batting cage the last couple of days.

“Yesterday he said he felt really good in BP and felt he was ready to take the next step,” Ausmus said. “It’s not games (they don’t start until Sept. 24), but he will face a few pitches over the course of a couple of days. He could get 30 at-bats in two days, really, as long as he feels good.”

Ausmus acknowledged, though, the odds were still against Castellanos making it back this season.

“We’re not banking on anything,” Ausmus said. “We’re just seeing if we can get him ready to play. If we can, we will play him. He said he felt good in batting practice, but facing pitchers is different.”

Castellanos was in the midst of a break-out season when was hit in the a hand by a fastball from Mets pitcher Logan Verrett. He was hitting .286, with a .500 slugging percentage and .831 OPS, with 18 home runs and 58 RBIs.

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