Cubs manager Mike Quade met with the young shortstop in his office to talk about practicing as if he's in game situations. The Cubs have been sloppy this spring, committing 14 errors in four games, including five more Wednesday in a 12-5 loss to the Brewers.
After watching Castro commit 27 errors in his rookie season last year, the Cubs want to make sure his mistakes aren't because of mental lapses.
"You think about work intensity, you think about mental stuff, how best to get a lot of the stuff done," Quade said of the overall defense. "One thing I know for sure is, I watch early work every day and guys are working. You start with that. So, is it game situations? In 'Cassie's' situation, is it inexperience? Is it concentration or focus? You try to deal with that."
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What the Cubs will try is demanding a more intense approach in practice sessions for Castro, who turns 21 on March 24. Infield coach Ivan DeJesus, who went to the Dominican Republic to work with Castro for one week on his throwing mechanics, will be in charge of the amped-up sessions.
"Somehow, some way put yourself in a game situation and play for keeps," Quade said of the message to Castro.
Castro has made two errors so far, including his second on Wednesday in a three-error first inning.
"There's an adjustment when you go from doing early work to playing defense the whole nine yards," infielder Jeff Baker said. "You can do your drills, but once the game gets amped up, there's still an adjustment period to how fast the speed of the game is, and you're still getting used to that. I don't think it's a concern at all."
Baker said wait until the last two weeks of Spring Training. That's when players shift gears.
"It's not that these first two weeks aren't important," Baker said, "but there will be an adjustment period doing your stuff. Whether you've been inside in a high school gym or outside taking ground balls, there's a difference.
"I think guys are aware we need to play better defense and guys are focused on playing better defense. It's a process, like anything else. Hopefully we'll come out and win when it counts April 1."
Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster joked after Tuesday's game that Quade would start cutting off fingers for each error made.
"My only thing about that is for the issues we're dealing with now, if we start removing fingers, then we'll really have trouble," Quade said. "That was Demp's line? Good for him to keep a sense of humor."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.