CHICAGO — Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro is trying to stay positive after he was removed from the starting lineup.
Manager Joe Maddon benched Castro for Friday's 7-3 victory over San Francisco, and had a similar lineup for Saturday's game against the Giants. Addison Russell was at shortstop, Chris Coghlan got the start at second and Kyle Schwarber was in left field, leaving Castro in the dugout for Chicago's 8-6 win.
"I feel a little frustrated, especially yesterday when they tell me I'm not going to play for I don't know when," the 25-year-old Castro said. "In the beginning, I take it like really personal, but after that I think about it and you can't put those guys in the bench. They're really hot right now, and I understand."
Castro is batting .183 in 18 games since the All-Star break, compared to .348 for Schwarber, .289 for Russell and .270 for Coghlan over the same period. Schwarber is a natural catcher, but he has been one of the Cubs' best hitters, leading to a cascade of moves for Maddon that relegates Castro to a reserve role for now.
"As a coaching staff, it's our responsibility to help him get back and playing like he had been in the past, and that's what we're going to try to do," Maddon said. "We've been doing it all year; it just hasn't played. Maybe like a little break, maybe like a rebooting, something like that can help."
Castro made the All-Star team for the third time last year, batting .292 with 14 homers and 65 RBIs in 134 games. He then got off to a strong start in his first season playing for Maddon, but it quickly fell off from there. He has a career-low .236 batting average with five homers and 46 RBIs.
Coming off the bench is a dramatic change for Castro, who has been an everyday starter for the Cubs since he was promoted in May 2010. He is playing under a seven-year contract worth about $60 million that includes a club option for the 2020 season.
"I never put my head down," he said. "I know the challenge that I got. You know I know the player that I am. Just keep working, keep doing my routine."
Castro said the Cubs hadn't talked to him about trying a new position to increase his versatility, and Maddon said he was still going over the possibilities with his coaching staff.
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap