6/4/2013 9:48 P.M. ET
Struggling at plate, Castro dropped to seventh in lineup
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- Manager Dale Sveum decided to make it a little easier on the struggling Starlin Castro and dropped the shortstop to seventh in the Cubs' lineup Tuesday night vs. the Angels.
Castro has primarily batted second this season, but he entered Tuesday's game 2-for-20 in his last five games, and was hitless in his last two games. He's batting .258 overall.
"It's good," said Castro, who was dropped in the lineup by previous Cubs managers as well. "If a player is struggling a little bit, putting pressure on himself, he can come back good. This won't be forever."
Sveum wasn't sure how long he'd keep Castro lower in the order but thought he would stay with it for the two Interleague games against the Angels.
"I told him it could change in the next couple days," Sveum said. "With two American League games, you don't have to worry about the eight spot. It'll be that way for these two games. It'll be a way for him to kick back and relax in another spot."
Castro has batted .300 each of the last three years at this point in the season. His biggest drop has been against left-handers this year. He was batting .208, and he has a career .308 batting average.
"It's a little bit tough in the beginning right now," Castro said. "I know it won't be like that for a year. I've got four months left and hopefully you'll see a difference. I know I can do more than that."
The Cubs have tried to get Castro to alter the high leg kick he uses. Sveum seems to be losing that battle.
"We've talked about some things with his mechanics," Sveum said. "When you have a leg kick, you have to be careful about having your hands drift when your front foot hits the ground. [Anthony] Rizzo has a little bit of the same problem a lot of times. It's a fine line."
Part of the problem, Sveum said, may be that Castro is trying to change his approach and take more walks and improve on his on-base percentage. It's something the Cubs have stressed. The problem is, Castro isn't that kind of hitter.
"He'll be the first one to tell you, even though his numbers against right-handers are better, he's still not centering the baseball," Sveum said. "He'll get some hits to keep his head above water, but he's not hitting the ball hard consistently."
A two-time All-Star, Castro was told that no Cubs player is in the top five in balloting.
"Let's see this month," Castro said. "I'll make it. I can be aggressive, I can be ready. I'll do my best. Good things aren't happening now. I know it's coming."
Samardzija explains shouting match with D-backs
ANAHEIM -- D-backs third-base coach Matt Williams and Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija exchanged some words during Saturday's game at Wrigley Field. On Sunday, Arizona manager Kirk Gibson complimented Samardzija, but he also suggested the pitcher remain quiet and focus on pitching. What happened?
"They weren't too happy I was throwing in on [Ian] Kennedy," Samardzija said Tuesday. "I don't know why I'd be trying to hit him, he's the pitcher. There's no reason for me to do that -- I was losing the ball on the arm side for a while and they apparently didn't like that. I didn't think it was a big deal. ... I wasn't trying to show anyone up."
Samardzija figured Gibson and Williams would understand sometimes players get caught up in the moment.
"Those guys played for a long time, you'd think they'd have a pretty good idea of what happens during games and it gets a little heated and a little on edge out there," Samardzija said. "There's a lot of excitement and a lot of emotions. I don't think it was anything too serious."
Cubs to make up rainout vs. White Sox on July 8
ANAHEIM -- The Cubs and White Sox will finish their intracity Interleague series on July 8 at 7:10 p.m. CT at U.S. Cellular Field to make up the May 28 game postponed because of rain.
The Cubs have already claimed the crosstown series, winning all three previous games -- one on the South Side on May 27 and two at Wrigley Field, May 29-30.
On May 28, the Cubs led, 2-0, thanks to Welington Castillo's two-run homer in the second off Chris Sale when rain stopped play with one out and one on in the White Sox third. None of the statistics count from that game.
"You hate to waste any time you get up 2-0 against a pitcher like Sale," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said after the game was called. "You score two and hopefully a couple more and you've done your share off a guy like that. It's too bad the game has to get canceled that quick. We knew that rain was coming."
The Cubs-White Sox game is the third postponed by rain this season for the Cubs. The April 10 game against the Brewers will be made up July 30 as part of a day-night doubleheader at Wrigley Field. The Cubs also played a makeup Interleague game against the Rangers on May 6 after an April 17 game was halted because of the weather.
• On Tuesday, reliever Shawn Camp threw 31 pitches in his first bullpen session since going on the disabled list May 22, and he will do so again on Friday. The Cubs will then re-evaluate the right-hander's status. He is sidelined with a sprained right big toe.
• The Cubs have yet to set a date for when reliever Kyuji Fujikawa will undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Fujikawa was placed on the DL on May 27.
• Class-A Daytona infielder Dustin Geiger and Double-A Tennessee pitcher Kyle Hendricks were the organization's Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Month for May, respectively.
Geiger, 21, batted .307 with eight doubles, one triple, three home runs and 23 RBIs in 27 May games. His 23 RBIs ranked tied for third most in the Florida State League. He was named the league's Player of the Week for May 13-19, hitting .469 with seven doubles, a triple, two home runs and seven RBIs in eight games.
Hendricks, 23, went 4-1 with a 1.95 ERA in five May starts, striking out 25 and walking five. He surrendered one home run in 32 1/3 innings pitched and limited the opposition to a .230 batting average. His four May victories tied for the Southern League lead while his 1.02 WHIP ranked tied for fifth and his 1.95 ERA was seventh.
Hendricks was acquired from the Rangers with infielder Christian Villanueva for Ryan Dempster last July 31. Hendricks opened June with seven shutout innings in the Smokies' 2-0 win over Jackson in the first game of a doubleheader on Monday. Hendricks struck out seven and posted his fifth straight quality start, improving to 6-2 with a 2.20 ERA. In the second game, Villanueva hit his fifth home run in a 7-1 win over Jackson.
• On Tuesday, Geiger, Javier Baez, Jorge Soler and John Andreoli were named to the Florida State League North All-Star team.
• Infielder Junior Lake expected to join Triple-A Iowa on Thursday. Lake, ranked the organization's No. 9 prospect by MLB.com, was slowed this spring by injuries and has been playing at extended spring training in Mesa, Ariz.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.