MILWAUKEE -- When Dale Sveum was interviewed for the Cubs manager's job, he was asked how he would have handled Starlin Castro after the shortstop was revealed to not be paying attention during a nationally televised game last season and criticized on air by Bobby Valentine.
Obviously, general manger Jed Hoyer liked Sveum's response, because he was hired. Hoyer said neither he nor president of baseball operations Theo Epstein influenced how Sveum handled Castro when the shortstop made a defensive gaffe in San Francisco on Monday, forgetting how many outs there were in the inning. It was all Sveum.
"That was something we talked about in the interview process," Hoyer said Wednesday. "[Castro] had already had that Bobby Valentine moment and missed that pitch. We were hoping he'd never have another incident, and he did. That's why you hire a manager -- that's the manager's job. Dale did that on his own, and I think it was a perfect tone."
Sveum told Castro that the lapses in concentration would not be tolerated, and on Tuesday the shortstop played what Hoyer thought was his best game of the season.
"As far as how he fits in our plans, he's a huge part of our plans," Hoyer said of Castro. "He's a shortstop who can hit, who can run and he's getting better defensively. Those are hard to find. You look around baseball and almost every time we play another team, we have the better shortstop on the field, and that's a great feeling to have.
"We do have to address those [lapses], and I think Dale has struck the perfect tone with Starlin -- 'Hey, I like you, I get it, but it's got to stop,'" Hoyer said. "That's a big part of why we hired Dale, he can strike that balance. I don't think Starlin resents him for it, I think Starlin understands.
"Maybe that was a good thing to happen in the long run. I'm hoping that's the case. Maybe that's the straw that broke the camel's back from Dale's perspective, maybe that ends up being a big positive."