3/7 Just like riding a bike …
Darwin Barney wasn’t sure how it would feel being back at shortstop, and the Indians didn’t waste any time testing him on Thursday. Cleveland leadoff man Michael Bourn hit a slow roller to Barney to start the game, and he cleanly fielded it and threw the runner out. And that was the last ball hit to him. A Gold Glove second baseman in 2012, Barney started at short while the Cubs wait for Starlin Castro to heal from a mild hamstring strain.
“There was a time when going back to shortstop felt more comfortable than playing second base and that was probably the first two years when I moved,” said Barney, who was a shortstop before switching to second full time in 2011. “Over time, that feeling goes away. Now I felt like I had to really focus on certain things.
“After a few innings, I felt really comfortable and you find out how much you miss that position,” he said. “It’s part of the game. I found out I’m a really good second baseman and I’m happy there, too.”
What’s next? Manager Rick Renteria says he’ll continue to rotate the infielders. Barney expects he’ll be back at second base but Renteria is getting to know the roster and what the players can and can’t do.
“As we continue to go through our workouts, he’ll remember,” Renteria said of Barney at short. “I think a lot of his movements are natural. He was over there a long time.”
On Friday, Barney was the designated hitter in one of the Cubs’ split squad games, which was a chance for more at-bats. He wouldn’t mind more playing time at short.
“I think I have value [at shortstop],” he said. “I’m pretty good over there and I like it over there, too.”
— Carrie Muskat