3/8 The forgotten shortstop

Most of the talk in camp has been about smooth young shortstop Starlin Castro. Don’t forget Darwin Barney. Last season, Barney, 24, batted .317 at Double-A Tennessee and then hit .264 at Triple-A Iowa. He was the Smokies’ leadoff man, batting .382 in the No. 1 spot.

The discussion on who will backup Ryan Theriot on the big league team started when Andres Blanco sprained his right knee Saturday. He will be sidelined 10-14 days.

“If we needed a backup infielder,” Lou Piniella said, “it would be more Barney than it would be Castro. The organization wants Castro playing [every day] and rightfully so. That’s what’s good for him and good for the Cubs.”

Barney has been the forgotten shortstop.

“You kind of expect that when a guy like Starlin, who has the hype and has the talent that he does, he’s going to come in and get a lot of innings,” Barney said Monday. “My job is to go out there and go about my business and try to get better every day.

“[Castro's] a good dude,” Barney said. “We chat here and there. There’s no animosity between us. Things are going to fall into place.”

That’s the perfect attitude for all of the Cubs’ Minor League players to have. Somehow, these things have a way of working themselves out.

“If the Cubs need me and they call me at a certain time, I’ll be ready,” Barney said. “If Castro is the guy who will play that position, then that’s what will happen. All I can do is focus on my own game and what I’m doing and what I can possibly do to help this team. Whether it’s this year or next year, who knows?”

– Carrie Muskat

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