Starlin Castro's shift to second base officially begins for Cubs

ByJesse Rogers ESPN logo
Wednesday, August 12, 2015

CHICAGO -- Cubs infielder Starlin Castroentered Tuesday night's game at second base in the top of the sixth inning and could start there this weekend,while his agent says an eventual "change of scenery" could be "good for everybody."

"It would crush him to leave Chicago," agent Paul Kinzer said Tuesday afternoon. "He loves it here."

The three-time All-Star took over for Chris Coghlan in Tuesday's 6-3 win over theMilwaukee Brewersin his first career MLB game at second base, and he came through with a highlight-reel catch. With one out in the ninth, he raced down the right-field line and made a sliding catch near the wall on Elian Herrera's foul pop.

Castro took grounders at second base before batting practice Tuesday, and manager Joe Maddon indicated that would be his main position going forward. Castro was benched over the weekend after a prolonged slump during which his batting average dropped to .236 and his on-base percentage to .271.

"I'm eager to see Starlin at second base," Maddon said before the game.

Castro didn't think it would be a problem moving over from shortstop, where he had been a mainstay for the Cubs for more than five seasons.

"I don't mind," Castro said. "I just want to play. No matter where they want to put me, I want to play."

He did not get a hit in his only at-bat Tuesday night.

Castro has had a team-first approach since losing his starting job, something Maddon has appreciated about the situation.

"That's his mentality," Kinzer said. "I wish people in Chicago knew him.

"There's nothing phony about him. Does he want to play every day? Yeah. But is he trashing anybody? No. He's not disrupting the team in any way."

Kinzer's visit to Chicago wasn't planned. He came to town to support Castro during the roughest time of his career. The agent is as baffled as anyone by Castro's slump, especially after a hot start to the season. Castro hit .325 in April.

"This is the same kid a couple years ago (2011) who had 207 hits," Kinzer said. "He showed it April. Not sure where he got off-track.

"Sometimes a change of scenery is good for everybody."

Kinzer wasn't making any demands, just openly wondering where it has gone wrong for Castro. Maddon hopes he can find his groove again, but Addison Russell is the Cubs' shortstop now and for the future.

"Addy looks like the guy everyone thought he would be," Maddon said. "[Prospect Javier Baez] is still getting his way back here. And Starlin, we're trying to get him back on his feet."

Castro hadn't played since Thursday. Utility man Jonathan Herrera had been used as a defensive replacement at second base while Russell became the fixture at shortstop.

"Four games [sitting] is tough," Kinzer said Tuesday before Castro entered the game. "He's used to being such a big part of everything."

Castro is trying to take it all in stride as he struggles through the toughest time of his Cubs career. He is owed more than $40 million through 2019.

"I think I can be good," Castro said. "I think I can play. ... We don't think about me, we think about us. It's the team now."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.