Baseball / Sports

Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro looks to future, reflects on past

LOS ANGELES -- Shortstop Starlin Castro declared Sunday that the final two months of the season are important for him, as well as the rest of his Cubs teammates, despite the likelihood of a last-place finish in the National League Central.

"It's very good when you feel strong and come into next year with that in mind," Castro said before hitting a two-run pinch single to cap a three-run eighth inning as the Cubs pulled away to a 7-3 victory over the Dodgers.

The Cubs (47-63), who won for the fifth time in seven games, received a lift from Edwin Jackson, who pitched six innings of two-run ball to win his first game since June 20. Chris Coghlan hit a tie-breaking home run in the fifth and extended his hitting streak to six games.

Castro believes the remainder of the season could be just as beneficial to prospect Javier Baez, who hit his 22nd and 23rd home runs Sunday for Triple-A Iowa.

"Maybe this year," Castro said of a possible promotion for Baez. "I don't know when, but he has to be here soon."

The Cubs have been reluctant to promote Baez, 21, who has worked at second base in addition to his natural position at short -- currently occupied by Castro.

Rookie Arismendy Alcantara is batting .253 in 21 games since being promoted, and he made a superb play behind second base to retire Juan Uribe in the second.

The Cubs want to make sure that when Baez is promoted to the majors, he stays for good, as Castro has since May 7, 2010, when he debuted with a home run, triple and six RBIs.

Castro said he performed well out of fear he could be sent back to the minors.

"You still don't know if they're going to send you down or whatever," Castro said. "There were a lot of scary moments. Thank God I never went back to the minors.

"I think those guys in the minor leagues, when they come here, they have the ability and talent to be here all their careers."

As for Castro, his single capped a 7-for-12 series as the Cubs won a series at Dodger Stadium for the first time since May 2-4, 2011.

His performance alleviated some of the frustration over a miserable July in which he batted .221 with nine RBIs.

"(July) was really tough," Castro said. "But that month is over. I'll be very ready to finish strong."

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