Cubs surprised by Hairston move

CHICAGO -- If the Chicago Cubs didn’t know trading season was upon them before, they do now. Most players were surprised by the latest move Monday morning -- Scott Hairston to the Washington Nationals for a minor league pitcher.

“It was quite surprising just because we knew he was locked up for two years,” outfielder Nate Schierholtz said. “I don’t think anyone thought he was going anywhere.”

Trading Carlos Marmol was one thing. Even moving Scott Feldman to Baltimore wasn’t a complete shock, considering his free-agent to be status. The Hairston trade says anyone can be traded regardless of contract status.

“You put yourself in this situation at this time of year,” Darwin Barney said. “It’s always, who’s next? You never know.”

Schierholtz said it became a topic of conversation in the clubhouse after his platoon partner was moved. Manager Dale Sveum says he’ll address it if it needs addressing.

“If it comes up,” Sveum said. “It’s not like I’m singling out people or having meetings about it. If someone says something it’s like, ‘Take care of yourself, that’s all you have to worry about.’”

Castro leads off: For just the third time this season, shortstop Starlin Castro led off for the Cubs in their game Monday night against the White Sox.

“I like leadoff,” he said before the game. “I hit leadoff my second year here. I like hitting right away in the first inning. I like taking five at-bats every day. It’s good. I like it.”

Castro has hit first, second, third, fifth, sixth and seventh this season as he admits the Cubs are still searching for the best spot for him in the lineup. No spot in the order has been good for him as Castro entered Monday hitting .233 with a .268 on-base percentage.

“I’ll hit everywhere,” Castro stated. “They’re finding the best place I can be hot. ... I like one or two. In any spot he puts me, I don’t mind.”