SAN DIEGO, July 19 (UPI) -- The San Diego Padres Wednesday released veteran third baseman Vinny Castilla, who was popular with fans and teammates alike.
The move was made before San Diego's 5-4 loss to Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon.
The 39-year-old Castilla, who was acquired from Washington in exchange for right-hander Brian Lawrence in November 2005, was batting .232 in 254 at-bats, with 10 doubles, four home runs and 23 RBI in 72 games.
"It was hard, after the career he's had, seeing him go through it," said closer Trevor Hoffman on San Diego's Web site. "He's an absolute class guy, the ultimate pro."
In 16 seasons, Castilla -- who also played for Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Colorado and Houston -- has a lifetime .276 average with 319 home runs, 1,101 RBI and 900 runs scored.
Castilla is the all-time Major League leader among Mexican-born players in hits, home runs, doubles, RBI, runs scored, extra-base hits and total bases.