Chicago Cubs: Starlin Castro continues to handle himself well despite adversity
By Paul Steeno
Jul 27, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro (13) during the game against the Colorado Rockies at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports
Castro’s tough season climaxed with an unexpected demotion at the beginning of August.
On August 7, Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon opted to sit Castro for the entirety of the Chicago Cubs 7-3 victory against the San Francisco Giants. Maddon made it clear from the beginning that Castro’s demotion wasn’t necessarily a temporary move.
"I did not give him any promises on how he is going to be utilized, other than ‘just stay ready off the bench. I didn’t want to give him any kind of false promises whatsoever. I want to see how it plays today, but I wanted to be upfront with him and just let him know it’s not just a day off. –Quote obtained by Chicago Tribune reporter Paul Sullivan"
In the games that he played since the original demotion, Castro played second base and not his familiar shortstop position. However, the makeup of the roster creates a logjam at second base, calling into question Castro’s role on this team moving forward.
From Joe Maddon‘s perspective, former outfielder Chris Coghlan presents a better everyday option at second base because he hits better than Castro. Coghlan played 246 minor league games at second base.
Castro continues to handle the entire process with the utmost class and professionalism, demonstrating that on this team each player defers to the overarching needs of the team.
Normally, a demotion of this size would warrant a stab to the ego, especially for Castro who has spent the entirety of his career with the Chicago Cubs as an everyday shortstop. Although he admitted to reporters that he was initially upset with the demotion, he said he could accept the move if it gave his team the best chance to win.
"In the beginning I take it very personally. Feel a little frustrated, especially when they tell me I’m not going to play (until) I don’t know when. They know what they’re doing. They know it’s better for me and it’s better for other players. Whatever decision they make, I’m in. —Quote obtained by Chicago Tribune reporter Paul Skrbina"
After Maddon benched him initially on August 7, Castro didn’t receive playing time until the sixth inning of the Chicago Cubs 6-3 win against the Milwaukee Brewers on August 11. The following two games he earned spot minutes and in the Cubs three-game series against the Chicago White Sox, he earned the start in all three games.
He received playing time in both of the Cubs games against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday and Wednesday. Bare in mind, however; that in American League stadiums, National League teams can carry a designated hitter opening up an extra roster spot.
The most important aspect of this entire situation is the fact that Castro hasn’t created clubhouse drama. His ‘we before me’ approach to the situation shows that his mindset is in the right place. He hasn’t complained about his reduced role and continues to try to improve himself to earn playing time.
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