Funny how good a minor league lineup looks when you add a couple big leaguers to the mix:

RailRiders vs. Durham, Aug. 18

  1. Jake Cave, center field
  2. Starlin Castro, designated hitter
  3. Greg Bird, first base
  4. Miguel Andujar, third base
  5. Billy McKinney, right field
  6. Kyle Higashioka, catcher
  7. Donovan Solano, second base
  8. Mason Williams, left field
  9. Cito Culver, shortstop

Pitching: Nestor Cortes

Bird’s been here for a couple days now — he’s 2 for 6 with an RBI on his rehab stint (ankle) so far — but this will be Castro’s first game action since July 21. He’s been out with a hamstring injury, that also sent him to the DL in June.

“For sure,” Castro said when asked if he feels better now than the last time he was getting ready to come off the disabled list. “Because, I think the last time, I (took) it quick. We did it too quick. But now I take my time … feel 100 percent.”

Castro said he felt good enough to play the first time he came off the disabled list, but then on a play in Minnesota, he felt the injury flare up again. Still, he played a handful of games after that happened.

“Now, I feel really good,” Castro said. “I don’t feel anything up there. I’ve just been running the bases in New York and everything.

“I can’t wait to be back on the team.”

Castro will play the full nine innings at designated hitter. Bird is scheduled to play seven innings at first base.

Gettin’ Higgy With It, Again

Kyle Higashioka’s name is penciled into a RailRiders lineup for the first time since June 21. He’s missed weeks with a back injury, and is back in SWB after playing five rehab games across Staten Island and Pulaski.

“It’s great,” Higashioka said. “I was really excited yesterday when they told me I was coming back. I didn’t expect to be back so soon, but I feel 100 percent. So, it’s a great feeling to be back on the active roster.”

Higashioka has seen his share of injuries in his career — only once in his 10 seasons has he played more than 100 games in a year — but this one was different.

“It’s been pretty crappy,” he said. “Just because there were times when I didn’t really think that, or I didn’t know if I was going to come back at all. It’s kind of been … I’ve been in the dark as to whether or not this would kind of get better. I’m just glad it did.

“This one was tougher more in the aspect of just so many unknowns. There was no real timeline as to when it would get better. Sometimes, when that happens, you’re kind start to wonder what’s going on.”

Associated Press photo