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Cubs move Castro from No. 3 lineup spot

5/25/2012

Starved for run production, the Chicago Cubs will operate with a new look to the lineup Friday at Pittsburgh as Starlin Castro was moved out of the No. 3 hole for the first time this season.

The club’s current leader in batting average (.313), RBIs (25) and hits (56), was never considered the ideal hitter for a spot typically reserved for run producers, but Castro got it seemingly by default out of spring training as the club’s best hitter.

He was moved to the No. 2 spot against the Pirates, a lineup position he found himself in for 42 games last season. In fact, Castro was in the No. 2 spot exactly the same number of games he was in the No. 3 spot in 2011 and batted .335 with 18 RBIs as a No. 2 hitter and .225 with 13 RBIs as a No. 3 hitter.

Not big on walks to begin with, Castro has just four free passes this season, possibly the bi-product of trying to change his game and be more aggressive in a run-producing role as a No. 3 hitter. His .323 on-base percentage is under his .341 mark from last season and his .347 number from 2010.

With Castro in the second spot, the previous tenant of the No. 2 hole, Tony Campana, was out of the lineup altogether. Joe Mather was batting third Friday and playing in center field.

Mather has just 54 at-bats, less than a third of what at-bat leader Castro has, but the only regular with a better slugging percentage than his .519 mark is the .612 number from Bryan LaHair. Castro had a .413 slugging percentage.

The entire Cubs lineup Friday against Pirates right-hander A.J. Burnett:

1. David DeJesus, RF

2. Castro, SS

3. Mather, CF

4. LaHair, 1B

5. Alfonso Soriano, LF

6. Adrian Cardenas, 3B

7. Darwin Barney, 2B

8. Koyie Hill, C

9. Ryan Dempster, P