6/4 Castro dropped to 7th

Dale Sveum decided to make it a little easier on struggling Starlin Castro and dropped the shortstop to seventh in the lineup. Castro has primarily batted second this season, but he entered Tuesday’s game 2-for-20 in his last five games, and was hitless in his last two games. He’s batting .258 overall.

“It’s good,” said Castro, who was dropped in the lineup by previous Cubs managers as well. “If a player is struggling a little bit, putting pressure on himself, he can come back good. This won’t be forever.”

Sveum wasn’t sure how long he’d keep Castro lower in the order but thought he would stay with it for the two Interleague games against the Angels.

“I told him it could change in the next couple days,” Sveum said. “With two American League games, you don’t have to worry about the eight spot. It’ll be that way for these two games. It’ll be a way for him to kick back and relax in another spot.”

Castro has batted .300 each of the last three years at this point in the season. His biggest drop has been against left-handers this year. He was batting .208, and he has a career .308 batting average.

“It’s a little bit tough in the beginning right now,” Castro said. “I know it won’t be like that for a year. I’ve got four months left and hopefully you’ll see a difference. I know I can do more than that.”

The Cubs have tried to get Castro to alter the high leg kick he uses. Sveum seems to be losing that battle.

“We’ve talked about some things with his mechanics,” Sveum said. “When you have a leg kick, you have to be careful about having your hands drift when your front foot hits the ground. [Anthony] Rizzo has a little bit of the same problem a lot of times. It’s a fine line.”

Part of the problem, Sveum said, may be that Castro is trying to change his approach and take more walks and improve on his on-base percentage. It’s something the Cubs have stressed. The problem is, Castro isn’t that kind of hitter.

“He’ll be the first one to tell you, even though his numbers against right-handers are better, he’s still not centering the baseball,” Sveum said. “He’ll get some hits to keep his head above water but he’s not hitting the ball hard consistently.”

— Carrie Muskat


Castro needs to sit for a spell as I`ve suggested prior. He`s distracted for some reason and does not make intelligent decisions. See tonight`s routine grounder hit by Trout and which Starlin fielded, and showed no urgency in throwing to Rizzo. Trout easily beat Starlin`s throw. Castro`s head was not in game on that play. He has to know Trout is a burner. And Castro at the dish is of late is dreadful.

I agree with YOURSELF (ha ha) jhosk as far as getting his head straight, a few days off may do him some good but one can’t help but wonder if mamma is also correct regarding the team’s approach to his hitting. If the best we’ll get from Castro is a free swinging, 200 HIT season then so be it. Why mess with that? When better players come on board then Castro’s free swinging and lack of walks should not be an issue. So he is struggling in the two hole and he gets dropped…Soriano is struggling in the 4 hole yet is entrenched as the clean up hitter for fear of ….what exactly? Hurt feelings? Hurt trade value? (THAT door is closed). Rizzo’s average has also dropped below .260 yet is entrenched in the 3-hole. Not much rhyme or reason in some of Sveum’s “strategy” this year regarding certain players. Seems to me they may be “picking” on Castro just so they can project a “hard line” approach? How about with other players then???

I do not think it realistic to expect a 200 hit season from Castro anytime soon. Clubs have found ways to pitch to him and know his flaws. They`ve adjusted to him. He has not adjusted and compensated for the way hurlers are attacking him. Is he up to the challenge? This is what separates successful major league players from those who are average or mediocre or who wash out.

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