Starlin Castro named to NL team

7/3/2011 - MLB Starlin Castro Chicago Cubs + more

In 1988, when pitcher Greg Maddux became the Chicago Cubs' youngest All-Star selection at age 22, Starlin Castro wasn't even born yet. But the honor now belongs to Castro, 21.

Castro, the lone Cubs player selected to this year's summer classic, was surprised and very proud when Cubs manager Mike Quade told him he'd made the squad before batting practice on Sunday.

"This is real special," Castro said. "All of my teammates told me 'congratulations' They all are excited (for me)."

Castro, who started his career on May 7, 2010 by hitting a home run and a triple as well as recording a debut-record six RBIs, said one of his early goals was to be an All-Star.

"When I began, I tried to be in (the All-Star Game). I've worked hard to be in there. And now it happened," Castro said.

Castro, who was picked for the team by NL manager Bruce Bochy, said he'll take his father and two brothers to the All-Star Game with him.

Castro will be joined on the NL bench by Quade, who was named as a coach by Bochy.

"I thought (Castro) got better last year," Quade said. "Defensively, he was making progress, but he stumbled a little bit early on (this season). I didn't think he was playing as well as he should. Now, he's put together five or six weeks of solid defense and his hitting speaks for itself."

Castro hit .300 as a rookie in 2010 and has been among the NL leaders in base hits in 2011. Going into play on Sunday, Castro was second in the league with 108 hits and was ninth in batting average at .308. The Cubs shortstop's 39 multihit games are also second in the league.

The youngest Cub to play in an All-Star Game was third baseman Ron Santo, who was 23 when he played in his first of nine All-Star Games back in 1963. Although Maddux was on the 1988 team, he didn't get into the game.

The All-Star Game will be played on July 12 at Chase Field in Phoenix.

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.