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Plenty of positives around play of Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro

Anthony Rizzo rounds bases after cracking two-run homer fourth thgave Cubs 2-1 lead their rain-delayed game against Pirates. | Getty

Anthony Rizzo rounds the bases after cracking a two-run homer in the fourth that gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead in their rain-delayed game against the Pirates. | Getty Images

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Rick Renteria came into his first season as Cubs manager with the notion that shortstop Starlin Castro was unfairly treated during his previous four major-league campaigns.

“He’s a guy, quite frankly, that, in my humble opinion, if it starts raining, it’s his fault,” Renteria said.

It can’t be confirmed whether the 2-hour, 1-minute rain delay before the game against the Pirates on ­Saturday night at Wrigley Field was Castro’s fault, but his production has mitigated the criticism.

Castro’s eight-game hitting streak ended when he went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and a walk in the Cubs’ 5-3 loss to the Pirates. His average dropped to .287 (11 home runs and 43 RBI).

Nonetheless, he looks much like the shortstop who made the All-Star game in 2011 and ’12. Maybe the criticism he endured has helped him focus.

“[Castro is] a guy that does thrive on positive reinforcement,” Renteria said.

Castillo on the mend

Catcher Welington ­Castillo, who was put on the 15-day ­disabled list June 2 with inflammation in his left rib cage, went 1-for-5 with an RBI in his first rehab start Friday with Class AAA Iowa. He went 2-for-3 with two walks Saturday.

“The reports are that he’s feeling good,” Renteria said. “He played nine innings [Friday] — a couple blocked balls, a couple ground balls — no incident.”

Rizzo in June

First baseman Anthony Rizzo has had a lot to do with the Cubs’ solid play in June (an 11-8 record). He has hit .304 with five homers, 14 RBI and 10 walks this month.

On Saturday, Rizzo ripped a two-run home run in the fourth inning that gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead.


Twitter: @SethGruen

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