MIAMI -- Starlin Castro grew up idolizing Hanley Ramirez, and now he gets to compete against him.
The 21-year-old had a strong showing last night in front of one of his favorite players growing up, picking up two hits in a 7-5 Cubs win.
"It's great to play against him," Castro said. "He's a great player and a great guy. Just a few years ago, I would watch him on television, and these past two years, it has been great to play against him."
Castro, who was batting .329 entering Thursday, was in a 2-for-25 slump two weeks ago. But the talented shortstop has gotten back on track, batting .455 over the last eight games prior to Thursday.
"It was a bad stretch, but I have moved past that," Castro said. "I continued to work hard with [hitting coach] Rudy [Jaramillo] on my mental and physical approach at the plate, and it's been working so far."
The Dominican star has also worked hard to improve defensively. After committing three errors in a game on April 25, Castro has gone 18 straight games without a fielding mishap.
"It's nothing mental or anything that I wasn't doing before," Castro said. "Sometimes things happen in this game that cause you to make mistakes. I'm not trying to blame anything for those errors, but it was raining and the field was wet -- but that's a part of the game. I've been working hard with [third-base coach] Ivan De Jesus to improve defensively."