It’s been two weeks since Starlin Castro was benched. He’s gone from the Cubs’ everyday shortstop and starting player on a potential playoff team, to a new second baseman and part-timer for the first time in his career.
Manager Joe Maddon lauded Castro for he’s handled things since that move was made, one that probably was difficult emotionally.
“Of course it is. That’s not easy. From my perspective, the best I can do is support him and be upfront and straight with him, which we were. We do support him,” Maddon said. “He knows exactly what’s going on and why. There’s no gray area whatsoever.”
That means Castro starts against left-handed pitchers, which the Cubs didn’t face Friday against the Atlanta Braves.He pinch-hit for Chris Coghlan in the seventh and ended the game when he threw out Freddie Freeman from right field as part of a shift.
That’s probably not the role Castro envisioned for himself, but it’s his role now.
“When you’re a professional, regardless of it’s your occupation or ours, sometimes you have to deal with some hard realities, and that’s what he’s doing,” Maddon said. “He’s doing it great. For me, I’m very pleased with how it’s going.”
Since he lost his full-time job before the Aug. 7 game against San Francisco, entering Friday Castro had an on-base percentage of .286 and slugged .333 in 21 plate appearances. He’s also transitioned to his part-time role, starting only four games while learning second base.
“I think he’s done fine. He’s done fine,” Maddon said. “He’s doing a lot of work at it. He’s been working at it really diligently and he’s going to get more comfortable there too. The big thing is, we’ve got to get him enough at-bats to get the bat rolling right, but right now we’re seeing this is like a right-handed oriented league or division especially. It’s incredibly right-handed.”