5/23 Castro feeling comfortable

Starlin Castro has been in the big leagues for 15 games with the Cubs and it’s been an incredibly smooth transition for the 20-year-old shortstop.

“I feel real good, I feel real comfortable,” said Castro, who headed into Sunday’s Interleague series finale against the Texas Rangers batting .357. “I feel like I have less pressure than before because I’m playing every day.”

He’s definitely made an impression on other teams. On Saturday, the Rangers decided they’d rather face Derrek Lee with the bases loaded than Castro, so they intentionally walked the rookie with one out in the 10th inning.

“It surprised me,” Castro said. “Derrek Lee has been a good hitter all his career. It was a surprise they walked him.”

Castro also hasn’t hid his frustration when he doesn’t come through. On Saturday, he was visibly upset after striking out in the eighth with a runner on.

“I want to do the job, I want to get that RBI,” Castro said. “I didn’t do it. I feel bad.”

Told that Lou Piniella liked seeing that kind of emotion, Castro smiled. What’s more impressive is that in his 15 games so far, Castro has reached base via a hit, walk or error, and has hit safely in 13 of those. On this road trip, he was 6-for-16, including his second home run on Saturday in the third. He’s fit well into the second spot in the Cubs’ lineup, and the team was 5-0 when Castro starts there.

“That’s where I feel most comfortable,” Castro said.

Ever since his three-error game in his Wrigley Field debut May 10, Castro has shown improvement on the field and been smooth at shortstop. Give credit to coaches Alan Trammell and Ivan DeJesus. They give Castro scouting reports and also plenty of advice.

“It’s a combination of everything,” said DeJesus, who also is Castro’s interpreter.

However, the shortstop may not need DeJesus much longer. His English has improved considerably since the season began. Castro is trying.

“He’s coachable and that’s a good sign,” DeJesus said.

— Carrie Muskat

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