Castro once again playing like an All-Star

In what appears to be a lost season for the Chicago Cubs as a team, Starlin Castro has a number of individual goals.

Castro is hoping to make his second straight All-Star appearance on July 10 in Kansas City. The 22-year-old shortstop seems to have turned around a recent slump that sent his batting average under .300 for the first time since early April.

“What helped me get started were some lucky hits against Boston,” Castro said Monday after his second straight three-hit performance. “I am starting to make hard outs and that shows me I’m ready and doing what I am supposed to do.”

Castro knocked three hits against the White Sox, the sixth time he has accomplished that in 2012, and he is hitting .538 in his last three games.

“I did get mad when my average [went] under .300,” Castro said. “In my mind I am a .300 hitter, so I go to the plate with a strong attitude and say to myself, ‘I know I am good.’”

The proof is in the record book, which says he is a .304 lifetime hitter in the major leagues after hitting .310 in the minors.

“I hit at every level and I expect to get better and believe I will at some point hit 18 to 20 home runs each year,” said Castro, who hit his sixth of the season on Monday.

Castro does not believe that his goal of making the All-Star team should be a concern for his teammates.

“I play a team game first,” Castro said. “If I play well and go to the All-Star Game it can only make the team better. I think of what we have to do to win first.”

Castro was the Cubs’ lone representative at the 2011 All-Star Game and tied a record with two stolen bases in the National League’s victory in Phoenix.

“It’s not great when your team loses a lot, but I want to be there and show people I am proud to be a Cub for my teammates.”