For the first time since he was a 20-year-old rookie three years ago, Starlin Castro was dropped to the bottom of the Cubs’ lineup, hitting eighth Tuesday night against right-hander Dan Haren and the Washington Nationals.
“I don’t like it there. It’s tough,” Castro said. “But I don’t put my head down. I have to stay aggressive.”
Castro, who made two All-Star appearances and led the league in hits once since the last time he batted so low in the order, is in another rough stretch of what has been by far the worst offensive year of his career.
Hitting just .242 entering the game, the lifetime .285 hitter was just 1-for-23 through the first seven games of the homestand.
Sveum said Castro’s struggles as well as the matchups involving some of the other hitters in the lineup, left his shortstop in the lowly spot.
“It’s just one of those things right now where it’s the only fit,” Sveum said.
Castro, who caught a lot of heat over the weekend when he got yanked from a game for lollygagging long enough on a popup to allow a run to score, says his main concern is finishing strong and starting fresh next year.
“[Sveum] asked me if I like it. I told him no,” Castro said. “But it doesn’t matter. I feel good to be there, whatever spot. But before, for me it was always first or second. This year’s tough – like five, six, seven, second, eight. Kind of up and down.”