According to a report from Comcast Sports Net’s David Kaplan, Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro is willing to work with the organization once Javier Baez reaches the big leagues – answering a major concern of the team’s followers of late.
“You know it’s going to be good,” Castro told Kaplan. “No matter what, it’s going to be good to have him out there. The people that can hit, you find a position for them. I don’t care that I’m a shortstop and he’s a shortstop. I don’t care because I have a good relationship with him. We talk a lot throughout the year and here in spring training and I tell Javy to ‘keep working hard and you’ll be here no matter what.’”
Castro has missed most of the spring after sustaining a hamstring injury early on in Cactus League play, but recently returned to action, taking part in a minor league game against the Indians Monday.
Last year, the Dominican Republic native put together the worst offensive season of his big league career, batting .245/.284/.347, appearing in 161 games for Chicago. He struck out a career-high 129 times in 666 at-bats and hit into a career-worst 21 times – both indicators of a changed approach at the plate, which the organization took the blame for near the end of the disappointing 2013 season.
Baez did appear in some spring games this year, but according to first-year Cubs skipper Rick Renteria, the young talent will spend his time at Triple-A Iowa at shortstop, his natural position.
“I think he’s made a lot of progress … one of the things we talked about to make sure he understands is … to continue to work on his defense, to continue to go down there and put together some good at-bats, try to get on base a little bit more, and just go out there and be a professional — hustling, busting his rear end,” Renteria said. “He’s looked good in spring training. We’re sending him down to play shortstop. That’s what we told him.”
The fact that Castro has seemingly matured enough to accept a position change is promising, given the common criticisms regarding his mental make-up. If Castro can step up his game in terms of his mental approach to the game and regain his form from his sophomore season of 2011, Chicago will have a major asset in the starting lineup for years to come
“If I need to move positions, I’m OK with that. If he is on our team and him being there helps the team win, then I am fine with that. I just want our team to win. That’s it.”