11/18 Sveum on Castro, Z & Marmol

New Cubs manager Dale Sveum has seen the Cubs over the last few years. Here’s his take on Starlin Castro:

“He can hit,” Sveum said of the Cubs’ 21-year-old shortstop. “When he came up to bat, I wasn’t comfortable. I’d rather have [Aramis Ramirez] up there than [Castro]. There’s no way to pitch Castro. He doesn’t have a whole lot of holes. You’d talk in advance meetings, ‘I don’t know what to do, just throw over his head and maybe he’ll swing at it.’ He’s that good.”

What about his defense?

“He needs a lot of polish there,” Sveum said. “Whoever I bring in as the infield coach will get started right away on that. There’s a lot of things we see just watching him. I’m an infield guy. I watch and see a lot of things that are broke down and why those mistakes are happening. There are things with his feet and positioning that will help him out a lot.”

* Sveum joked he’d put Carlos Zambrano at first base. As for the right-hander as a pitcher, that’s different.

“We all know his nine [lives] are up,” Sveum said. “Talking to Theo, [Zambrano] realizes that and he knows it, and he knows he has to win back the respect of his players as well as management. At some point we’ll sit down and talk. You try to get a grip on the guy and try to understand where he’s coming from because he’s out of strikes.”

* On Carlos Marmol:

“One, [hitters] finally just decided all they have to do is sit there and look for a slider,” Sveum said. “They don’t have to worry about the fastball, because even if he throws it, it’s probably a ball. He has to get back to some kind of fastball command.

“When you have that kind of breaking ball, you have to use your fastball as a weapon as well,” he said. “You’ve already established the breaking ball in so many hitters’ minds that now it’s a surprise attack to throw fastball strikes.”

— Carrie Muskat


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