9/27 Extra bases

As of Thursday, Starlin Castro has played in all 156 of the Cubs games this season. Manager Dale Sveum doesn’t plan on giving his shortstop a day off.

“That’s what you want,” Sveum said of Castro’s durability. “When you get to a point and you have young players capable of doing it health wise, you want them to play every day.”

Castro has set career highs with 12 triples and 25 stolen bases, and is the only player in the Major Leagues with at least 10 home runs, 10 triples, 25 stolen bases and 75 RBIs. He’s the first player to do so in the National League since Jimmy Rollins in 2007. Since Castro’s debut in May 2010, he leads all NL players in hits.

But Sveum wants Castro to get better, especially on his defense. Among the things he’d like the shortstop to work on is to not rely on his arm so much. Sveum likes to call such infielders “grass huggers” because they don’t want to leave the grass, their arms are so strong.

* In his 30 years in the game, Sveum had not seen a baserunner get thrown out at third trying to advance on a sacrifice fly to left, but the Cubs have made the gaffe twice in two weeks. Joe Mather did so Wednesday.

“If you brought it up in a group session, there would be a lot of eyes rolled, but unfortunately, it’s been a reality the last couple weeks,” Sveum said. “It’s almost a learning tool — it’s like, all right, don’t be rolling your eyes, this actually happened the last two weeks.”

* Travis Wood will open the Cubs series on Friday at Arizona, and said he’s ignoring his record, and focusing on what he’s learned this season.

“Forget the numbers,” said Wood, who is 6-12 with a 4.23 ERA. “The experience is the key part. Everybody tries to finish strong, and you want to take that into the offseason and get ready for the next season.”

– Carrie Muskat 

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