Quade knows Castro will hit anywhere in the order

Updated 4/26/2011 8:14 PM

Starlin Castro was back in the leadoff spot for Tuesday night's game with the Colorado Rockies. Castro began the year as the No. 2 hitter and also has seen time in the 3-spot, where the Cubs hope he eventually will settle.

However, Castro has performed better as the leadoff hitter than he has as the third hitter.

Even though the sample sizes are small, the differences are big. But manager Mike Quade continues to stress that his lineups are "evolving."

Heading into Tuesday, Castro was 23-for-46 (.500) as a leadoff man and 2-for-17 (.118) as a 3-hitter.

"I look at the at-bats," Quade said. "I look at a lot of things. He's had some good at-bats in the 3-hole. He hit the daylights out of that ball in a key situation in the sixth inning last night. (Troy) Tulowitzki made a great play. I want to see if he's changing his approach any.

"The other thing is, we think this guy is a pretty important part of our future. I have no concern about his psyche, no matter where he hits. If we show up here tomorrow and he's hitting fourth, I don't think he'd blink. We're looking for a 3-hole hitter, and we're looking for one for a while. Whether it's this moment, I want to find out."

Castro lined a solid single to start the first inning for the Cubs on Tuesday.

No platoon:

Jeff Baker started at first base against Rockies lefty Jorge De La Rosa. That meant slow-starting Carlos Pena sat. Heading into Tuesday, Pena had a hitting line of .169/.306/.186. Even with that, Mike Quade said he would not consider a straight platoon between Pena and Baker at first.

"I won't," Quade said. "The biggest decision I have now is to find ways to keep Bake involved on a regular basis, whether it's at second, whether it's in the outfield, whether it's at first or whether it's giving Rami (third baseman Aramis Ramirez) a day once in awhile. His versatility makes a huge difference. He's swinging the bat so well. It can't be a platoon system for me because I still would like the left-handed power in the lineup that I know Carlos has."

Baker, who had trouble against right-handed pitchers last year, entered Tuesday 3-for-9 (.333) against righties and 10-for-22 (.455) against lefties.

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