Sveum wants to see more production at plate

MESA, Ariz. -- The Cubs are looking forward to having Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo back in the lineup, which has been struggling this spring, and had the lowest batting average in the Majors.

The Cubs entered Sunday hitting .247 as a team. Rizzo is playing for Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic, while Castro has been sidelined since Feb. 27 with tightness in his hamstring.

"We're not swinging the bats at all," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "The on-base percentage, everything, has been pretty bad this Spring Training, and that's after two pretty good games to start the Cactus League. Since then, it hasn't been very productive. It's not that easy to not get 10 hits in the Cactus League, and we haven't done it for awhile."

The Cubs are last in the Majors in on-base percentage at .307, but 16th in slugging percentage at .446.

"We've got to start kicking it in," Sveum said. "It's getting to that time in Spring Training where the core players will play quite a bit, longer innings and get more at-bats.

"You aren't going to know anything until you get all eight guys out there and playing," he said.

Rizzo will miss a few more days, as Team Italy advances to the second round. Castro was expected back Wednesday. Javier Baez, one of the Cubs' top top prospect, currently shares the team lead in RBIs with six.

Why the bad numbers as a team?

"You've got a lot of young kids, raw kids, who aren't very patient at the plate and making quick outs," Sveum said. "That's a concern for another day. I'll be more concerned [if there are problems] when I'm putting my regular eight guys out there and Rizzo is here and Castro is here."

Last year, the Cubs ranked 15th in the National League in offense, batting .240, and were last in on-base percentage (.302).

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for 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.