Castro gets first breather of the season

Castro gets first breather of the season

LOS ANGELES -- Cubs manager Rick Renteria has talked to Starlin Castro about taking a day off for about a week, and on Sunday, the shortstop finally sat.

Castro was not in the starting lineup for the Cubs' series finale against the Dodgers, the first game he has not started this season. He was the only Cubs player to be in all 109 games.

However, Castro was called on in the eighth inning to pinch-hit and delivered a two-run single against the Dodgers. Castro was then lifted for a pinch-runner, pitcher Travis Wood, to enjoy the rest of his day.

Castro had tried to talk Renteria out of the mini vacation.

"I told him, I don't need it, but they told me it'll be good for you, today and tomorrow, day off," Castro said, looking ahead to Monday's off-day.

Castro struggled in July, batting .221, but was 6-for-11 in two games against the Dodgers, so it's understandable that he wouldn't want a breather now.

"I think he's been one of those guys, like all the guys, they don't want to come out of the ballgame," Renteria said. "He's been working really, really hard, even as we've talked about [a day off], just in general. He'd push himself to show me he's still fresh. We know he needs a day, and two days in a row will really help him."

Castro has 11 home runs, but hasn't hit one since June 20. Renteria said they feel Castro is trying to generate power and not letting his "approach allow him to do what he can do."

In 2012, Castro played in all 162 games, and he was in 161 in 2013.

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.