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updated: 6/5/2013 6:08 AM

Slumping Castro dropped to 7th in lineup

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  • Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro reacts to hitting a foul ball for an out against the Los Angeles Angels in the sixth inning during an interleague baseball game Tuesday, June 4, 2013, in Anaheim, Calif.

      Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro reacts to hitting a foul ball for an out against the Los Angeles Angels in the sixth inning during an interleague baseball game Tuesday, June 4, 2013, in Anaheim, Calif.
    Associated Press

  • Video: Sveum on Castro lineup change

 
 

Cubs manager Dale Sveum may have provided a hint Sunday when he talked about shortstop Starlin Castro.

The occasion was Castro's 500th career game and the up-and-down nature of Castro's 2013 season so far.

Sveum was asked about an ideal spot for Castro in the lineup. Castro has batted second most of the season

"It all depends on the personnel you have in the lineup," Sveum said. "If you have a prolific lineup, for instance, some American League teams, where you're strong all the way through the lineup for power, slugging percentage, obviously, it's a perfect world.

"He'd probably be more suited to hit further down in the lineup until the OPS and all that improves."

Nobody would call the Cubs a "prolific lineup" these days, but they were playing by American League rules Tuesday night in the opener of a short two-game series against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim.

Albert Pujols blasted a 2-run homer in the eighth inning, as the Angels rallied to beat the Cubs 4-3.

Prolific or not, Sveum moved Castro down to the No. 7 spot in the batting order against Angels pitcher Jered Weaver. Going up to the second spot was third baseman Luis Valbuena.

"I'll try to get him going, put him down there a little bit and see what happens," Sveum told reporters before the game. "Valbuena's on-base percentage and OPS is more suited for that spot right now. Hopefully it gets (Castro) going.

"He'll be the first one to tell you, even though his numbers against right-handers are better, he's still not centering the baseball. He'll get some hits to keep his head above water but he's not hitting the ball hard consistently."

Castro has been in a slump. On the recent homestand, he was 2-for-20, and for the season, his hitting line had dropped to .258/.294/.356. Valbuena's OBP was .362, highest among Cubs regulars.

It's likely Castro will bat seventh Wednesday, but things could change when the Cubs come right back home Friday to open a series against the Pirates.

"I told him it could change in the next couple days," Sveum said. "With two American League games, you don't have to worry about the 8-spot (in the lineup). It'll be that way for these two games. It'll be a way for him to kick back and relax in another spot."

Castro seemed OK with the idea.

"When you have a slump, that's what every manager does to take a little bit of pressure off you," he told reporters. "I try to take a little bit of pressure off myself. A couple of days at (No. 7), start hitting good again and go back to second."

In addition to his batting slump, mental lapses continue to happen with Castro. In the bottom of the first inning, Erick Aybar led off with a double. Mike Trout then grounded the ball toward Castro, who looked at Aybar going to third base and was late throwing to first, and Trout was safe.

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