CHICAGO (AP) — Starlin Castro no longer appears to be the Chicago Cubs’ undisputed everyday shortstop.
The struggling three-time All-Star was out of the lineup Friday against the San Francisco Giants because manager Joe Maddon wanted to keep rookie slugger Kyle Schwarber in it.
“It’s because of Schwarber,” Maddon said. “Schwarber’s the guy who kind of enacted this whole thing by the way he’s hitting right now.”
Schwarber, batting .345, had two hits, drove in two runs and scored two in Friday’s 7-3 win.
The Cubs have a bit of a crowd at catcher with Miguel Montero coming off the disabled list before the game after being sidelined by a sprained left thumb and veteran David Ross in the mix.
Schwarber started in left field after catching Thursday. Chris Coghlan was at second with prized rookie Addison Russell moving to shortstop — his natural position.
“Addison is the shortstop today,” Maddon said. “He could be the shortstop tomorrow.”
Maddon said sitting Castro is not “punitive by any means.” He said after the game that Russell will start Saturday at shortstop. But beyond that?
“It’s something that’s going to be considered daily,” Maddon said. “I did not give (Castro) any promises regarding how he’s going to be utilized, other than just stay ready off the bench. I didn’t want to give him any false promises. He could be playing tomorrow.”
Castro, mired in a 16-for-103 slump, was batting just .236 with five homers and 46 RBIs. The presence of Russell has only fueled speculation about his future in Chicago.
“(Castro’s) a big part of what he have going on here,” president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said. “A 25-year-old three-time All-Star who has been the shortstop on, right now, a playoff-worthy team and certainly we think will play better baseball going forward than he has the last four months and a week.”
Maddon said Castro’s reaction was “very professional, he understood, he was not upset.”
Besides activating Montero, the Cubs optioned outfielder Matt Szczur to Triple-A Iowa.