Sveum, Castro meet to discuss shortstop's gaffe

Sveum, Castro meet to discuss shortstop's gaffe

CHICAGO -- Starlin Castro remained in the lineup Saturday against the Reds, one day after a baserunning blunder angered Dale Sveum to the point where the manager said he'd think about sitting the young shortstop.

Instead, Sveum said he and Castro talked "quite awhile" in a close-door meeting during which Sveum said the 22-year-old admitted to making a mistake.

The gaffe, coming in Friday's sixth inning, happened when Castro attempted to steal second after singling. Josh Vitters singled to right, but Castro couldn't see the ball. He was deked by Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips and didn't immediately round second because Phillips acted like he had the ball. By the time Castro realized he had been fooled and took off, the Reds' relay throw easily nabbed him at third.

The play came with the Cubs down five runs in an eventual 10-8 loss. Castro said he didn't know where the ball was, while Sveum said during his postgame interview, "If you're going to steal a base five runs down, you better [darn] well know where the ball's hit."

Although Castro isn't a rookie like a growing portion of the Cubs' roster, the 22-year-old still is young. But, Sveum said Castro isn't trying to use that to justify his mistake.

"There is that fine line, but even he admits that [being] young ... there's no excuse for anything that went on yesterday," Sveum said.

"With that kind of situation, down five runs, if you're going to steal, you need to know 100 percent that you're safe, that you can see where the ball's at," said Castro, who went 1-for-4 on Saturday.

"He told me that and gave me confidence putting me out there today."

Castro also let a ground ball go between his legs in Friday's third inning for his 17th error of the season, but it's the mental mistakes that continue to be piling up for the talented youngster. Earlier this season, Castro forgot how many outs there were against San Francisco, a game which the Cubs eventually lost.

Sveum admitted the parent in him comes out from time to time when dealing with Castro or any young player. It's just that Castro -- already a two-time All-Star -- always has more eyes on him.

"I don't treat him any different than anybody else. He just happens to be a big focal point of the team because he's our shortstop, and the shortstop is going to be here a long time," Sveum said. "The guy's made leaps and bounds defensively, and has done a good job as far as concentration, for most of the time. A lot of times, myself included as well as the media, blows him up as much as anybody else. Some other people have made some pretty bad mistakes, too, but it doesn't get blown up as much, either."

Sveum said Castro still needs to continue to slow the game down. He has already improved, however, cutting down his errors, and he had been relatively mental-mistake-free in nearly two months before Friday's issue.

"I don't see any of those consistent, consistent mental lapses anymore. That just goes to show you he's in the right place, position wise," Sveum said. "So he's come a long way, that way.

"He's still an elite shortstop in the big leagues. Some people might have less errors, but a lot of people haven't been able to do the things he can do at shortstop, either."