Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Castro benching highlights double standard
By Bruce Levine
Chicago Cubs interim manger Mike Quade’s benching of Rookie of the Year candidate and starting shortstop Starlin Castro was cheered on in some quarters and derided in others.
Quade, for his part, just wanted to send a message to Castro: No matter how well a player may be doing in one phase of the job, concentration, in all areas, is needed to become a well-rounded major-leaguer.
The other side of the equation has had veteran players not necessarily held to the same standard when it comes to mental mistakes that cost the Cubs ball games.
Of course, most of this occurred before Quade took over the job.
Castro was benched for two games due to lacking some concentration on the bases and in the field.
Cubs’ management is looking for some consistency in their next manager in dealing with all players on an equal basis. That approach in handling players may seem unrealistic, considering the difference in salary from an entry-level player ($410,000 a year) to a $100-million veteran.
The solution may be two-fold.
The team must have a manger unafraid to take on big-contract guys when they’re not doing the right thing on the field and in the clubhouse. However, management also has a responsibility to hand out those big contracts in a responsible and judicious way.
As one general manager likes to say about mega-buck deals that have gone awry – “Money doesn’t come with instructions.”
Third baseman Aramis Ramirez still is getting treatment on a right quad strain. Quade is hoping that he might be available to pinch hit some time over the next few days. Meanwhile, Ramirez told ESPNChicago.com that he’d do some running on the leg on Friday in hopes of getting back in the lineup sometime this weekend.
Quade said that he’d lean on pitching coach Larry Rothschild and bullpen coach Lester Strode in evaluating how to use the six or seven starting pitchers the team now has available to it. On Tuesday, Carlos Silva was activated from the DL and Jeff Samardzija was recalled from Triple-A Iowa. Those two join Tom Gorzelanny, Casey Coleman, Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster and Randy Wells as starting pitchers on the roster. Samardzija may get a bullpen assignment before going into the rotation. While Gorzelanny is scheduled to throw a side session sometime in the next few days in hopes of getting back into the rotation after missing a start with a microfracture in his left pinky finger – he took a line drive off the bat of Jose Tabata last week.