9/29 Castro: Next year, strong mind

It was a disappointing season for Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro, who heads home to the Dominican Republic on Tuesday, happy with the way the year finished.

“I tried to finish strong,” Castro said Sunday. “I know it’s a bad year. But what I’m looking for is how I’m feeling right now — I feel like my old [self], I feel pretty good at the plate and that’s how I’m trying to finish so I come back next year with the same intensity.”

The shortstop began this season with a career. 297 average in the big leagues but headed into Sunday’s game batting .246 overall. This month, he’s batting .269, and was hitting .270 in 39 games in the leadoff spot. Castro will work with strength and conditioning coach Tim Buss in the offseason in the Dominican.

“I think next year, I’ll have a strong mind,” Castro said. “It’s bad because it’s a bad year, but I think it’s good because I learned a lot. I never had a bad year, and I think this has been important for me to put my mind strong and grow more.”

Dale Sveum said both Castro and first baseman Anthony Rizzo learned about themselves and how to deal with slumps and adversity this season. There have been highs and also lows, such as the Aug. 17 game when Sveum benched Castro after the shortstop’s mental gaffe led to a run scoring in a loss to the Cardinals. Does Castro want Sveum back as manager?

“Yeah, why not?” Castro said. “But it’s not my decision. I think he’s OK.”

The Cubs did try to change Castro’s hitting style, but his struggles at the plate resulted in letting the shortstop “be me” as he said. He described his relationship with Sveum as “good, nothing bad.”

“I want to be me,” Castro said. “I know I make errors, I know I make mistakes, and I paid for this, but I want to be like me. I don’t need pressure on myself, just play baseball. That’s what I need. Let me play baseball and I’ll be all right.”

– Carrie Muskat

8 Comments

Maybe Castro has adult attention deficit disorder. Watching him sometimes is like watching 5 year old playing little league. After 20 minutes their minds wander.

Step back and realize Castro is barely an adult… he is what 22.. what were u doing at 22? My bet is not as much pressure as what Castro is doing

Castro saying he just needs to play baseball is a bit off putting! What does he think he has been playing all this time? What he does need to do is keep his mind on the game when he is playing! What he needs to do is stop sowing sunflower seeds on the infield and pay attention! His defense has improved this year and I hope he can continue to do so. Perhaps we will have a new hitting coach who can undo some of the damage done not only to Castro but also to Rizzo, Barney, et al. It just seems that if ALL the guys are slumping offensively it must be the coaching problem. I do think Castro has an attention deficit problem but wonder what the cause is.

Carrie, thanks for the updates all season. You’re great, and I love how you remain unemotional or biased…just the news. :)

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