Theriot emerges as mentor for Castro

CHICAGO -- Ryan Theriot wants to win, and he wants to win in a Chicago Cubs uniform. Whether either of those two things happen for Theriot, who like several Cubs is being mentioned in trade rumors, is uncertain.

But one thing is clear: the popular second baseman doesn't want to leave the only professional franchise he has ever known.

"That wouldn't be too much fun," Theriot said. "That's never something you want to happen. I guess I can't say that for everybody, but for me Chicago has meant so much, and it's obviously somewhere I'd like to stay for a long time. I've made that very clear. But it is a business and things happen. You can control what you can control and that's basically about it.

"It is a little flattering to know that there are some teams looking and teams are interested in what you have to offer, but in the same breath I've always wanted to win, and I want to win here. This has just been a great place for me."

Theriot, 30, who has been a fixture in the Cubs lineup for the past three-plus seasons, already has adjusted to a big change this season when he shifted from shortstop to second base to make room for top prospect Starlin Castro.

Castro, 20, hasn't disappointed, batting .294 with two home runs and 25 RBIs in 62 games. And he's found a mentor in Theriot.

"Starlin is a very, very gifted player," Theriot said. "I think we all knew at some point that he was going to be up here playing shortstop, and he's done a great job. For me, it's my job to make that an easy transition for him to the major leagues. It's not an easy thing to do. [Mark DeRosa] was there for me, Kerry Wood was there for me, guys like that. Phil Nevin, Greg Maddux were there to kind of show me the ropes and teach me the things to do and the things not to do.

"It's not necessarily baseball stuff as much as it is being a professional: what to wear on the plane, signing autographs, talking to fans, being normal, being regular, just being a professional, somebody who is respected. That's the main thing that I've tried to come across to teach him because the baseball stuff, he's got that. He's a very gifted kid. He's going to have a long career. He's done some great things already, and he'll continue to do that.

Theriot said his move to second base was the best thing for the team.

"You can't take any of that stuff personally," Theriot said. "If you truly want to win, if you really want that then you want the best players here. The players who are going to give you the best chance to win."