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Slumping Starlin Castro not the only Cub with a listless bat

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Updated: June 21, 2013 12:23AM



ST. LOUIS — Cubs manager Dale Sveum still seems to be trying to find a day to give struggling shortstop Starlin Castro the same kind of “breather” first baseman Anthony Rizzo got Tuesday.

“I haven’t found one yet,” he said before another hitless night dropped the two-time All-Star’s batting average to .232.

“He’s not the Lone Ranger in all this,” Sveum said, referring to a lineup that produced eight runs in the four-game series in St. Louis — and just two runs and seven hits in the last two games. “There’s not a whole lot of hitting going on.”

That included a 6-1 loss to the Cardinals on Thursday night to close out a 3-4 road trip.

Castro went 1-for-16 in the series and 4-for-30 on the trip — all of it from the No. 2 spot in the lineup after spending a week batting seventh.

Whether he has regressed seemed a matter of debate when team president

Theo Epstein discussed it on a local radio show, drawing a distinction between his stats and his development.

“By the numbers alone, he’s regressed,” Sveum said. “There’s no question about it. You’re getting way, way down as far as all the other shortstops in baseball, as far as the offensive part of it. He’s under a .600 OPS. So it goes without saying he’s regressed.

“The rest is up to him. He knows the issues and the mechanical things that are different than when he first got to the big leagues. So it’s up to him to get all that ironed out.”

Obligatory All-Star

The Cubs aren’t likely to get more than one All-Star selection, and judging by fan voting, they might not get that if it weren’t mandatory.

One of the intriguing questions about the Cubs’ selection is whether he will be one of the players who could be traded in a deadline deal days or weeks after the game, or whether he will be a potential part of the core the team is trying to put together.

Sveum said he believes starter

Travis Wood could be his top candidate, noting, “He’s the one that’s been the most consistent.”

That All-Star level of consistency — Wood takes a staff-leading 2.74 ERA and 12 quality starts in 13 outings into his start Saturday — has him looking like the Cubs’ top example of progress in their rebuilding.

“I would like to definitely be around here for a while,” said Wood, 26, whose run of good starts dates to the second half of last season. “It’s a good group of guys, with good, young talent coming up, too. I would love to stay here for a long time.”

Notes

Right-hander Pierce Johnson, the Cubs’ top pitching prospect, was promoted to advanced Class A Daytona after going 5-5 with a 3.10 ERA in 13 starts for Class A Kane County.

◆ Third baseman Ian Stewart is eligible to return from his Twitter-related suspension at Class AAA Iowa on Saturday, and the club plans to take him on its trip to Memphis for a series that opens that day. The Cubs’ effort to administer the suspension without pay remains under appeal.

Matt Garza, who is set to start Friday, was sent home early because the team faced a late-night return home for the 1:20 p.m. start.



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