Castro returns to second spot in Cubs’ lineup
BY TONI GINNETTI firstname.lastname@example.org June 13, 2013 10:22PM
Chicago Cubs' Starlin Castro watches his single during the fourteenth inning of an MLB baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds in Chicago, Thursday, June 13, 2013. Chicago won 6-5 in fourteen innings. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
Updated: June 13, 2013 11:06PM
The experiment that dropped Starlin Castro to seventh in the order ended Thursday, partly because it didn’t help the offense and partly because of the need to get Castro more at-bats.
‘‘I feel better [batting second],’’ said Castro, whose career-worst hitting slump didn’t improve batting seventh. ‘‘It was a little different [hitting seventh], but I like hitting in the first inning.’’
Castro was 3-for-7 on Thursday, only the second time this season he has had three hits in a game. He also stole two bases for the first time since April 28, 2012.
‘‘That was by far his best game in a while,’’ manager Dale Sveum said, acknowledging before the game that Castro wasn’t alone in falling short at the plate lately.
‘‘We dabbled with it a little bit to see if it would [help],’’ Sveum said of dropping Castro in the order. ‘‘But obviously the offense isn’t doing a whole lot with him down there.
‘‘He’s still a guy who can swing the bat, and I have all the confidence in the world he’ll come out of this. We need him [getting] three or four at-bats.
‘‘Nobody right now is stepping up doing anything at any position in the lineup. It’s almost to the point where you think about pulling the lineup out of a hat.’’
Only Ryan Sweeney, who has played in 29 games, is hitting at or above .300 (.345). Nate Schierholtz is at .297.
Second baseman Darwin Barney, who won a Gold Glove last season, hasn’t committed an error this season and has a 53-game errorless streak dating to Sept. 30. Barney has played in 50 games this season.
Barney still regards Cincinnati Reds rival and past Gold Glove winner Brandon Phillips as outstanding, though Phillips committed his second error of the series Thursday, throwing wide of first base on a double-play ground ball (by Barney) in the third.
Phillips also had an error Monday.
‘‘I don’t think I’d ever seen him make one before,’’ Barney said of Phillips’ miscue Monday.
While Barney’s streak continued, shortstop Castro saw his 18-game errorless streak end. He committed two errors, one in the sixth inning and one in the 14th.
Reliever Shawn Camp will throw two innings for Class A Kane County on Friday as he continues rehabbing from a toe injury.
Catcher Steve Clevenger (strained oblique) was 1-for-5 for Class AAA Iowa on Tuesday and is hitting .320 in his rehab.
Pitcher Zach Putnam, who went on the disabled list Tuesday with elbow soreness, might be dealing with bone spurs on the elbow, Sveum said.
The 14-inning game Thursday was the Cubs’ longest extra-inning game since June 7, 2009, at Cincinnati. It also went 14 innings and ended in a 6-3 Cubs win.
The Cubs are 4-2 in extra innings this season, including 1-1 at Wrigley Field.