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