Cubs' Starlin Castro named NL player of the week

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • The Cubs' Starlin Castro was named the National League player of the week for Aug. 1-7. During that time, Castro led the major leagues in hits (17), runs (10) and total bases (25). He also led the NL in batting average (.515) by going 17-for-33. Castro had an on-base percentage of .543 and a slugging percentage of .758 to go along with 7 RBI.

    The Cubs' Starlin Castro was named the National League player of the week for Aug. 1-7. During that time, Castro led the major leagues in hits (17), runs (10) and total bases (25). He also led the NL in batting average (.515) by going 17-for-33. Castro had an on-base percentage of .543 and a slugging percentage of .758 to go along with 7 RBI. Associated Press

  • Through Sunday, the Cubs' Starlin Castro leads the NL in hits with 150 and is on pace for 211 this season.

    Through Sunday, the Cubs' Starlin Castro leads the NL in hits with 150 and is on pace for 211 this season. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 8/8/2011 10:07 PM

The kudos just keep on coming for Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro.

The 21-year-old Castro on Monday was named the National League player of the week for Aug. 1-7. During that time, Castro led the major leagues in hits (17), runs (10) and total bases (25).

 

He also led the NL in batting average (.515) by going 17-for-33. Castro had an on-base percentage of .543 and a slugging percentage of .758 to go along with 7 RBI.

Manager Mike Quade said he has seen improvement in Castro recently.

"I think probably in a lot of areas," Quade said before Monday's game with the Washington Nationals was rained out at Wrigley Field. "He's stealing bases. He's picking his spots. He's not going to steal 100. But he's doing a better job doing that and understanding when to run. We've given him some freedom. I've talked to Bobby (coach Dernier) about green-lighting him.

"I think he's playing better defensively and more consistently. And that's a plus. He's got 5 home runs, 28-29 doubles, a bunch of triples. So there's some power numbers there that are getting better, too. It's one thing to project when a guy is going to hit for power, but if you're one of those people in the projection business and you start to see it, it makes you feel pretty good. The consistency he's shown to me in all those areas has been great."

Castro credited hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo with his continued progress at the plate. Entering Monday, Castro led the NL in hits, with 150, and was on pace for 211.

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"I've been working with Rudy on my approach," he said. "Right now, I feel real comfortable. I try to separate the two, hitting and defense. Sometimes you are playing and you hit and you're thinking too much in the field and make an error. Now, I can separate them."

Castro has enjoyed most of his success out of the leadoff spot, and that's where he's likely to stay.

"Given the situation, given the way he's performed, yeah," Quade said. "I think he's the one viable option. If I play Campy (Tony Campana), he would be, too. Campy can be such a good situational guy, too. He can bunt. We can hit-and-run with him."

Castro won't win the NL MVP award, but with 10 spots on the ballot, he's sure to find his way onto some.

Making it up:

Monday's postponed game will be made up Thursday at 1:20 p.m. Mike Quade said he was "good with not starting a game at 10 o'clock," but added he would rather have played a split doubleheader Tuesday or Wednesday rather than lose Thursday's scheduled off-day.

The Nationals were not scheduled to fly out until Thursday, and player reps from both teams gave their OK to the Thursday makeup.

Tickets from Monday's game will be good for admission Thursday. The Cubs will keep their pitching rotation intact: Matt Garza followed by Rodrigo Lopez zand Ryan Dempster.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Hot prospect heating up:

Center-field prospect Brett Jackson is starting to heat up at Class AAA Iowa, and he might make it tempting for Cubs general manager Jim Hendry to listen to any offers for Marlon Byrd and bring Jackson up.

Jackson, the Cubs' No. 1 draft pick in 2009, hit a pair of homers Sunday for Class AAA Iowa, giving him 7 since his promotion from Class AA Tennessee.

At Iowa, Jackson entered Monday with a hitting line of .291/.392/.616 in 24 games. At Tennessee, he was at .256/.373/.443 with 10 homers.

He has been batting leadoff, but with Starlin Castro doing well there now, the Cubs might be able to work Jackson in at the sixth or seventh spot of the order.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

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