CHICAGO -- A day after committing his 12th error of the season, easily the most among National League shortstops, the Chicago Cubs’ Starlin Castro was doing extra work on his fielding before Sunday’s game.
Castro made a fielding error in the third inning Saturday against the Houston Astros while charging a bouncing ball right in front of him. The following inning, though, he atoned for the miscue by making a diving stop up the middle to throw out a runner at first base.
“There is a lot of things in his defense that needs to get better,” manager Dale Sveum said. “Today he was just working on his backhand, trying to get more stable on having a base when you throw the ball and not be so off balance and understand the different things you need to have in your tool box on you backhand.
“There are all kinds of different backhands. It’s just some things we have to get cleaned up.”
Last season, Castro’s 27 errors were tied for the major-league lead, and in 2011 his 29 miscues were tied for the lead in the National League. His 12 this year are four more than any other NL shortstop and are also the most among all major league shortstops. The Chicago White Sox's Alexei Ramirez has 11 errors.
Clearly, Castro’s offensive ability allowed him to arrive in the major leagues at a young age, but even his prowess with the bat has slipped this season. Castro entered play Sunday with a .231 batting average and a .265 on-base percentage, well below his career marks at the start of the season, which were .297 and .336, respectively.
Sveum was asked if Castro is doing a good job of not taking his at-bats with him to the field.
“Those are things you talk about, Sveum said. “Those kind of things are maturity and understanding how to separate the two.”
The goal of the extra work was not only to reduce the mistakes Castro has been making, but to understand why certain techniques help to cut down on fielding miscues.
“He has to understand that so these things don’t keep happening,” Sveum said. “The body control plays are still an issue that have to get better. The backhand and the body control plays are two things he has trouble with the most.”