Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Cubs' catching situation still not in focus
By Doug Padilla
CHICAGO -- Just because Geovany Soto has been traded, it still doesn’t necessarily mean Steve Clevenger’s time has arrived.
Steve Clevenger will now share catching duties with Welington Castillo now that Geovany Soto has been traded.
Clevenger is still expected to share time at the catcher spot, only this time it will be with Welington Castillo, who is expected to join the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday.
Clevenger and Castillo have been in a friendly duel since spring training when they were battling for an Opening Day roster spot. Clevenger won the battle, but it didn’t exactly mean that he was head and shoulders above Castillo in the club’s view.
Judging by their play when Soto was injured earlier this season, though, Clevenger started to put a little distance between himself and Castillo. Clevenger proved earlier this season to be much better at calling a game and even showed better fundamentals behind the plate.
Despite any advantage, either perceived or real, Clevenger isn’t about to kick back and take it easy now.
“I’ll just prepare myself for every day just like I've been doing and not take anything for granted,” he said. “I’ll go out and play the game hard like I was playing before. Other than that I’ll just try to win.”
If manager Dale Sveum goes with lefty-righty matchups, the left-handed hitting Clevenger would get more opportunities to play against right-handed pitching. Another possibility is that the catchers get matched up with Cubs starters.
For one of them, it could be their time to shine as the Cubs would ideally have one step forward to claim the main catching job. As the only catcher on the roster Monday night after Soto was pulled from the game, Clevenger still wasn’t thinking that his time had arrived.
“I didn’t pay too much attention to it at the time,” Clevenger said. “I was just focused on keeping the lead and going in there to make sure the guys coming in were focused on throwing strikes and not giving away at-bats. I just wanted them to throw strikes and finish off the W.”