12/5 Extra bases

* One of the first players new Cubs manager Rick Renteria called after he got the job Nov. 7 was to Starlin Castro.

“People ask me about Starlin, and I watched him from the other side and I think, what a tremendously gifted athlete,” Renteria said. “I have to get to know him as a person. I have to figure out what moves him.”

Castro is coming off a season in which he batted a career-low .245, struck out a career-high 129 times, and finished with a sub .400 slugging percentage for the first time (.347).

“He’s willing to do anything we ask him to do,” Renteria said. “I know people talk about him losing focus and having bad at-bats, and I think we have to address those things. Sometimes you don’t have conversations thinking we don’t want to have confrontations or maybe we don’t like the answer we’re going to get, but the reality is you have to have dialogue.”

The emphasis on Renteria’s coaching staff was to find people who could be “teachers” and who can communicate.

“I think it takes a special personality as well as experience and having the technical knowledge,” Theo Epstein said about the coaches. “It takes a certain personality to be able to actually reach the modern player and to dig deep and engage and relate to them and not relate to a player on a perfunctory level but find out what makes him tick and impact him on and off the field in a positive way. That’s what we were looking for.”

(Note: For more on Renteria’s day at Wrigley Field, please see the story on Cubs.com)

* Renteria was formally introduced on Thursday at Wrigley Field. He’ll wear No. 16, which he says was his number in high school.

* Renteria is known for his even-keel demeanor. He was asked if he had a temper.

“I can get hot,” Renteria said Thursday. “I think any competitor can get hot. I think you’ve got to pick your spots. I don’t think players appreciate people just losing it for the sake of losing it.

“Will I do it for the sake of people watching me do it? No,” he said. “You probably won’t see me doing it at all, but I can’t guarantee that. When it happens, it’s got to be the right time, and I think those things have to take care of themselves.

“If you’re a guy who is even-keeled and you end up losing it, I think [the players] understand you mean business and it means a little bit more. For the most part, I think conversations need to be had behind closed doors.”

* The Cubs got encouraging reports about right-hander Arodys Vizcaino, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery in March 2012. Vizcaino made about six appearances in the Dominican instructional league, his fastball hit 98 mph and he showed good command. The pitcher, acquired from the Braves in July 2012, could be in the Cubs’ bullpen mix in 2014.

* Cubs pitchers and catchers will report Feb. 13 to Mesa, Ariz., for the start of Spring Training.

– Carrie Muskat

8 Comments

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That is great news on Vizcaino. 98 MPH & good command. :)

Pingback: Arodys Vizcaino is Hitting 98mph and Might Contribute in the Bullpen Next Season | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

Open Letter to Ms. Muskat

I can see how hard it is was for you to get into the “Boys Club” of doing sports reporting. There are male Cubs followers that have a negative image on you. They like to “nick pick” your Cubs reports every chance they get on other local Cubs web sites. I myself know you are one of the top Cubs / baseball reporters in the field. Hopefully, there are young ladies who look up to you, and hope someday they can also be baseball writers. Just like Jackie Robinson, you have barriers to overcome in the baseball sports field. The World will always have jealousy, hatred, envy and discrimination by people who were brought up by parents & grandparents who had the same views. Every time I see a women who is making gains their in life, there are always men who want to push them back, due they feel insecure that a woman can do a better job and be recognized for the fine work that they are doing. I hope Carrie you will always encourage young ladies to follow their sports writing dreams.

For all those chauvinistic “Tony’s” out their…….Go Get A Life.

Thanks for the kind words.

You make some good points, Cubs Talk. Carrie deserves high praise, and I hope I do not sound like a brown noser, as she knows I`m not that. But please tell me Cubs Talk, what does “nick pick” mean? I`ve never heard that expression.

Nick Pick is a term used for people who are always looking for the smallest errors on a positive subject matter or event, so they can have an excuse to rip it apart on any flaws that really didn’t take away from the subject matter or event.

Lets say when the Cubs win the World Series……and the players spray each other with champagne,,,,,,,,you will hear some guy named “Tony” who will say “Oh the Cubs owner bought the $250 bottle of champagne for the clubhouse celebration….not the $500 bottles”…………does it matter what champagne was used!

FYI, the term is “nitpick” not “Nick Pick.” But I agree with what you say. I bet when the Cubs finally do win the World Series, some people will complain because they won in 5 games instead of getting the sweep!

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