Marlins second baseman Starlin Castro earned three of his four career All-Star selections as a Cubs shortstop before being traded to the Yankees after the 2015 season. His three-hit game against the Cubs Wednesday gave him 1,477 career hits — barely a month after he turned 29. Castro spoke with Cubs beat writer Gordon Wittenmyer on Tuesday at Wrigley Field on the ninth anniversary of a heralded Cubs debut that included a three-run homer and three-run triple.
You know this is the anniversary of your debut?
Starlin Castro: Oh, yeah. It’s a special day for me every year. I remember that morning when my [minor-league] manager called me and said they’re going to call me up to the big leagues. I just try to keep it in my mind to never forget just how special that day is for me and my family.
It has been more than three seasons, and you’ve been with two teams since then, but how much do you still think about your time with the Cubs?
SC: Always. Rizzo, Baez, Strop, Bryant. We call each other all the time. I miss those guys. That’s the group [coming up] when the Cubs were getting really good. When they were in Miami, we were hanging out. It’s always fun for me to see them again.
Does it still bother you that you were traded?
SC: I feel like I’m always going to appreciate the city and that team, whether [they] traded me or don’t trade me. I can be upset when it happens, but I can’t have that in my mind forever because I can’t control that.
Do you ever feel like you want to prove anybody wrong or show what they gave up by trading you?
SC: Nah. The only thing we can control is to prepare every day to play and do our job and help the team.
What are your thoughts on the suspension and circumstances surrounding Addison Russell, the guy who took your shortstop job in 2015?
SC: I heard about that, but I didn’t really pay attention. I haven’t read any news about it.
You should have 1,500 hits in a matter of weeks, and you don’t turn 30 until next year. Do you think much about 3,000 hits?
SC: Oh, yeah. It would be awesome. As long as I keep healthy and do my job, then it’s about playing. Just come in here every day and try to do my job.
What’s next for you? This is the last guaranteed year of your contract. Has the club talked at all about your [$16 million club] option year or an extension?
SC: No. I try not to put any type of pressure on myself thinking about it. I just play my baseball, babe — come here every day and try to do my job. Let’s see what happens.
How do you look at free agency, especially after the slow markets the last two winters?
SC: It’s kind of scary to be honest with you, how baseball is going right now. But the only part that I can control is just to do my job. I come in here and try to help the team and try to have a good year, and whatever happens, happens.
You got a nice cheer from the crowd your first at-bat of the series. Do people still know you around town?
SC: When I got out of the hotel today I saw a couple guys there, and they were cheering for me, and here [at the ballpark] yesterday before the game. People still remember me. It’s really cool. I enjoy coming [back] here. This is my favorite place.