Miami Marlins

Marlins’ second baseman still among league’s best and an example to team’s youth

Miami Marlins second baseman Starlin Castro runs into the dugout during the third inning of a Major League Baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Marlins Park on Wednesday, August 8, 2018.
Miami Marlins second baseman Starlin Castro runs into the dugout during the third inning of a Major League Baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Marlins Park on Wednesday, August 8, 2018. dsantiago@miamiherald.com

Starlin Castro recorded 130 or more hits each of his six seasons as a Chicago Cub.

He did the same both years he was a New York Yankee.

And with three more hits, he’ll do the same in his first year as a Miami Marlin.

Some of those years in Chicago and New York ended in the postseason.

And others like his current one with the Marlins is on pace to do, finished with losing records.

Regardless of the situation, Castro has learned not to waver in his approach to the game.

“He’s a day in and day out grinder,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “He’s been a good example for our guys because he’s a worker. It’s not so much that he’s working extra hard or extra long, it’s because he has his routine and he stays with it.

“Guys that have success have their routines. It’s their security blanket. It’s where they go every day. They’re going to do their drills whether things are going good or going bad. And that’s been a great thing to show our guys.”

If Castro surpasses the 130-hit mark, he will do so for the ninth consecutive time to start his career. According to Stats LLC, that would make him only the sixth player that has debuted in the past 20 years to do so joining Carlos Lee (14 seasons in a row), Robinson Cano (13), Ichiro Suzuki (13), Albert Pujols (12) and Mark Teixeira (9).

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Miami Marlins second baseman Starlin Castro grounds into a force out as he reaches into first base during the second inning of a Major League Baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Marlins Park on Wednesday, August 8, 2018. David Santiago dsantiago@miamiherald.com

Castro’s production ranks among the best second baseman in the game despite the Marlins owning the second-worst record in the National League.

Castro’s 127 hits entering Wednesday’s games ranked second in the NL among second basemen trailing only Reds’ All-Star Scooter Gennett (130). Castro is also tied with Gennett for the most multi-hit games with 37.

Miami Marlins second baseman Starlin Castro talks about the team’s MVP Chain that they dedicated to Jose Fernandez.

Castro has been durable as well playing in 113 games, which is tied for the most by any second baseman this season with the Phillies’ Cesar Hernandez.

“The most important thing is I’ve been able to stay healthy and physically I feel really good,” Castro said. “I really don’t pay attention to numbers during the season, but I’m thankful to be able to do something like that and I just want to keep working hard and keep moving forward.”

Castro has been traded twice in his career from teams that were in the playoffs the prior season to younger teams building for the future.

Each time he has remained consistent off the field as he has this year becoming an integral part of the Marlins’ clubhouse.

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Miami

“I always stayed positive from the beginning,” said Castro, who was traded from the Yankees in the deal that sent Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins to New York last December. “No matter where I am, I always prepare and stay positive and get ready to contribute.”

Castro said he learned the value of sticking to a routine in pregame preparation from watching veterans like Alfonso Soriano early in his career.

“I feel like that comes with maturity,” Castro said. “When I was first starting I didn’t maintain that routine. But thanks to veterans like [Soriano] I learned. He was the same every day. Even on days I’m not in the lineup, I go out there and get my work in and that’s what’s helped me my whole career.”

ENCOURAGING SIGNS

Mattingly said center fielder Lewis Brinson (hip bone bruise) was progressing toward potentially starting a rehab assignment within the next couple of weeks barring any setbacks.

Brinson, rated the Marlins’ top prospect at the start of the season after arriving via trade from the Milwaukee Brewers, has had a tough first year in Miami at the plate with a slash line of .186/.232/.338 with 10 home runs and 30 RBI.

Mattingly is hopeful Brinson can return early enough to compile at least 100 at-bats before the end of the season.

“We felt like he was swinging the bat better [before the injury] and his at-bats were getting better, swings were getting shorter, takes were better,” Mattingly said. “Not necessarily that he was getting a ton more hits but you could see he was making progress in terms of his at-bats and he’s just come right back and his [rehab] work looks good.”

Mattingly also said he thinks Garrett Cooper (right wrist sprain) will return before the end of the season. Cooper has been limited to only 33 at-bats in 14 games this season.

COMING UP

Thursday: OFF.

Friday: Miami Marlins RHP Jose Urena (3-11, 4.66 ERA) vs. New York Mets RHP Zack Wheeler (6-6, 3.89), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.

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