On an appearance just now on 670 The Score, Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon discussed, among other things, the plan for Starlin Castro going forward, now that he’s been removed as the regular, everyday starter at shortstop.
It was a fair assumption that, if Castro is going to have a role going forward this season, he may need to increase his versatility so that he can be worked in at multiple spots. That, however, hadn’t yet been discussed publicly or explicitly.
Today, Maddon said that Castro will begin taking ground balls and working out at second and third base. It sounds like second base will probably come first, which makes sense given the late-inning substituting there that has already been taking place. Chris Coghlan’s bat is great at second base against righties, but you may prefer – as Maddon has so far, utilizing Jonathan Herrera – a better glove there in the later innings. Perhaps that glove could eventually be Castro’s.
Furthermore, against lefties, you’re still going to want to see Castro’s bat in there, and if he can start at multiple infield positions, that will give Maddon a variety of options. Sure, Addison Russell could shift back to second base, but if he’s now becoming the primary shortstop, you’d probably rather not see him bouncing around.
For now, it sounds like this is work behind the scenes, and it wasn’t entirely clear how soon we could see Castro in a game at a new position. The Cubs don’t face a lefty starter in this series against the Brewers, but they would face at least one this weekend’s against the White Sox.
UPDATE: Just to confirm it’s actually happening:
Castro starting drills at 2nd base
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) August 11, 2015
#Cubs Starlin Castro and Chris Coghlan working at 2B with coach Gary Jones
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) August 11, 2015
Castro and Coghlan both working on the turn at second base in pregame. pic.twitter.com/Wl219eDq0Y
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) August 11, 2015