Sveum pleased with team's growth on defense

Sveum pleased with team's growth on defense

CHICAGO -- Now that Cubs manager Dale Sveum has seen the team for five months, what areas does he feel they've made the most improvement in?

"I think the most progress is definitely the defense," Sveum said Sunday. "For the most part, we've had a couple ugly games, and for the other 130 games, we've played pretty solid defense, especially up the middle with [Starlin] Castro and [Darwin] Barney and [David] DeJesus and even [Alfonso] Soriano. For what his legs can do, he's played heck of a left field."

Barney has gone a National League single-season record 117 straight games without an error at second base heading into Sunday's game. That tops David Eckstein's mark of 113 consecutive games set with the Padres in 2010.

Soriano is the only Major League left fielder to have handled at least 150 total chances without an error this season.

Last year, the Cubs finished last in the National League in fielding percentage, committing 134 errors. This season, they are 10th in fielding percentage and have made 85 errors.

"The young catchers have come around this last month of buying into and sticking with game plans and slowing the game down," Sveum said. "I think our defense has come to grips with positioning and the importance of it all."