Two years later, Starlin Castro still hitting

CHICAGO -- It was two years ago today that Starlin Castro made the debut heard ’round baseball.

Castro hit a three-run home run in his first major-league plate appearance against the Cincinnati Reds and later added a three-run triple, with the six RBIs going down as the most ever for a player in his first major league game.

“Hopefully he can repeat that day,” said manager Dale Sveum, who was a coach with the Milwaukee Brewers that day. “Obviously I wasn’t here but it’s kind of a legendary debut.”

Castro hasn’t stopped hitting really. Since May 7, 2010, Castro has the fourth most hits in the major leagues with 385. The only three ahead of him are Adrian Gonzalez (391), Ichiro Suzuki (397) and Michael Young (402).

Castro entered play Monday with a .308 career batting average, fourth among middle infielders since he made his debut.

“The guy can hit,” Sveum said. “It’s just the learning curve now to hit situational hitting, men in scoring position. You don’t know what the pitcher is going to give you. Prepare for that and learn what the pitcher is going to give you in certain situations. I think that’s his biggest learning curve.”

Sveum is a former hitting coach, of course, so he knows what goes into a solid swing. In his opinion, the 22-year-old Castro is ahead of the game when compared to hitters all around the league.

“He’s always going to hit,” Sveum said. “He just has the mechanics and the hand-eye coordination to always hit. Now the important part is the scoring position and the big hits and later in the game when you’re facing better velocity, understanding what those pitchers will do to you.”