Manager puts Starlin Castro on notice
A day after being put on notice by manager Dale Sveum for another mental lapse, Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro was in the lineup batting third for the in the opener of a series against the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday.
Castro, who had played in all 54 games, drew the ire of Sveum after a mental error Monday in San Francisco that cost the Cubs the lead.
With the bases loaded, one out and the Cubs leading 2-1 in the fifth, Brandon Crawford hit a bouncer to Darwin Barney, who threw to Castro to start a possible double play. But Castro thought the out at second was the third and just hung on to the ball while the tying run scored. Replays showed it would have been a difficult double play to turn even if Castro had fired to first, but Sveum wasn't considering that possibility after the 3-2 loss.
"It's something that's obviously unacceptable at any time," Sveum said Monday.
"Whether we could have turned the double play or not is irrelevant to not knowing how many outs there are in the most important part of the game. These things have got to stop happening or he's going to stop playing.
"These kind of things are things that my son does in high school, maybe."
Starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija, who escaped further damage by retiring the next batter, was seen putting his arm around Castro after the inning.
"It's very embarrassing," Castro told reporters afterward. "It can't happen. I apologize to my team. I have to pay attention a little bit more. That kind of thing can't happen, because it's very embarrassing for me and my teammates."
Sveum discussed the situation with Castro.
"He felt awful about it," Sveum said. "He felt horrible about the event that occurred so we talked about it to try and eliminate those kind of things happening. He knows he has to get better at the focus part of it and he felt as bad as anybody about it."
Castro had three hits and a flawless night in the field Tuesday after earning Sveum's ire.
"I listened to him, because it's my fault," Castro said after the Cubs beat the Brewers 10-0.
Monday's mental lapse was not the first for the 22-year-old Castro, who pulled up on a steal attempt Friday because he thought Joe Mather fouled off the ball. After that game, Sveum said: "I wasn't too happy about that one for many reasons."
Castro drew the criticism of former ESPN analyst Bobby Valentine last season when cameras showed him unprepared during play and turning his back when the pitcher was delivering the ball.
His focus at the plate, however, continues to be strong as he entered Tuesday hitting .305 with four home runs and 32 RBIs. Castro last season became the youngest player in history to lead the NL in hits with 207.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.