Results tagged ‘ Starlin Castro ’
What is it about those last three outs? Carlos Villanueva may want to take Kyuji Fujikawa, Carlos Marmol and the rest of the Cubs bullpen out to dinner. Perhaps if Villanueva butters them up, he’ll get a win. For the second straight start, Villanueva missed a potential “W” because the bullpen imploded. But the Cubs rallied this time as pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro hit a game-tying home run leading off the ninth and Starlin Castro smacked a walk-off RBI double to score David DeJesus from first and lift the Cubs to a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over the Giants.
“I’m happy just getting the [team] ‘W,’” Villanueva said. “The atmosphere in our clubhouse right now, I wouldn’t change that for the world.”
The right-hander shut down the Giants for 7 1/3 innings, but they took a 3-2 lead in the ninth against Fujikawa on an RBI single by Pablo Sandoval and a two-run double by Brandon Belt. It was Fujikawa’s second save situation since taking over the closer’s duties from Marmol, and he’s now 1-for-2.
“[It was his] command again,” manager Dale Sveum said of Fujikawa. “He’s not getting the swings and misses with his split. I thought he threw some good splits and they were laying off of them. The command and life of the fastball wasn’t there again. He couldn’t get strike one.”
Said Fujikawa: “As you can see, [my command] wasn’t too good.”
The Cubs rallied in the ninth against Giants star closer Sergio Romo. What is it about the ninth inning?
“Guys lock in,” DeJesus said. “Those are the situations where you want to shine your best. That’s why that closer role is such an important job and it’s a tough job because these guys are going up there with the purpose of trying to win the ballgame.”
Last Saturday, Marmol served up game-tying and walk-off home runs to the Upton brothers in Atlanta and lost his job as the Cubs closer. Now, Fujikawa struggled.
“I told Ryo [Shinkawa], his interpreter, to tell him that I believe in him, and we believe in him and he’ll be fine,” Villanueva said. “[Fujikawa] is very apologetic and he feels bad, and we can tell. We need him, and as long as we communicate that to him, times when things aren’t going well, that’s why we’re teammates and we’re a team. We love ‘Fuji’ and we know he’ll do well.”
– Carrie Muskat
Starlin Castro has the physical tools to be a star shortstop. Now, the Cubs are trying to develop the mental skills. On Friday, Castro and second baseman Darwin Barney did some early work with Cubs infield coach David Bell. The two middle infielders have yet to play in a regular season game because Barney is on the disabled list with a left knee laceration, but he’s expected back Tuesday. Castro made his third error on Thursday in nine games, which led to a Giants’ run. The Cubs now lead the Major Leagues with 10 errors.
“These errors aren’t because of physical ability,” Dale Sveum said of all the miscues, not just Castro’s. “It’s awareness and understanding the situation and who’s running. I think we’ve made half our errors on pure non-awareness of how much time we had to make a play or a throw.”
Physically, Castro has the talent. How do you improve the mental part of the game?
“That’s the million dollar question about slowing the game down,” Sveum said. “When we say ‘slow the game down,’ it doesn’t mean make the ball go slower or the pitch go slower. It’s how can you in your mind — before a ball is hit to you, before you step in the batter’s box — how you can go over the situations in your head before the ball is hit to you?
“Those are the things, whether you’re base running or hitting or fielding or pitching, how do you slow the game down in your mind and go over all the scenarios that can happen in your area,” Sveum said.
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs left Arizona just two weeks ago, and it seems as if they’ve forgotten some of the defensive drills they did in the desert. The Giants took advantage of a sloppy fourth inning Thursday to rally from a five-run deficit and post a 7-6 victory. Pablo Sandoval hit a two-run double and Angel Pagan drove in two runs, including a tie-breaking sac fly in the fifth, for San Francisco.
“You spend hours and hours on [defense] for 45 days of Spring Training and to have the lapses in the games when it counts, it costs you games, it costs you pitches, it costs you not being able to go five innings,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.
The Cubs opened a 5-0 lead, and it vanished quickly. The Giants had two on and two outs when Ryan Vogelsong reached on an error by Starlin Castro, who misjudged the grounder, and tried to hurry his throw. One run scored. Pagan was safe on an infield single that Brent Lillibridge fielded cleanly, but held because starter Scott Feldman was slow to cover first base. Another run scored. After Feldman hit Brandon Crawford with a pitch, Sandoval smacked his double to pull within, 5-4.
“I feel really bad,” Castro said of his error. “It’s one of the plays I have to make. It’s a routine play. The pitcher is running. I feel really bad those things happen. You have to know the pitcher is running. You have to be ready to wait for the ball and throw.”
Castro led all Major League shortstops with 27 errors last season. He now has three in nine games this season.
“That one is basically not understanding that the pitcher hit the ball and you had plenty of time,” Sveum said of Castro’s miscue. “You didn’t have to over-charge the ball and over-cook that whole play.”
What happened with Feldman on the Pagan grounder?
“When I saw the ball was hit, I broke for the base,” said Feldman, who also was charged with an error in the first when he botched another Pagan grounder. “I was expecting the throw [in the fourth]. I haven’t looked at the replay but maybe from the angle we were positioned at, it wouldn’t have worked.”
Feldman may be taking grounders at Wrigley on Friday.
“We’ll have to get [Feldman] out early to start working on it because that ain’t acceptable,” Sveum said.
– Carrie Muskat
Dioner Navarro hit his fifth spring home run and Darwin Barney delivered a go-ahead RBI single in the fifth but the Cubs and Astros finished in a 6-6 tie Friday night at Minute Maid Park. Chicago had runners on first and second in the 10th but Alfonso Soriano grounded into an inning-ending double play. Edwin Jackson struck out nine over four innings but also gave up five runs in the first two innings.
* Starlin Castro did rejoin the team on Friday. He had gone to New York to be with his girlfriend for the birth of the couple’s first child.
* The Cubs outrighted right-handed pitcher Guillermo Moscoso to Triple-A Iowa, which reduced the 40-man roster to 39. Moscoso was claimed off waivers from the Blue Jays on Wednesday.
* On Saturday, the Cubs close their spring exhibition schedule against the Astros, starting at 1:05 p.m. CT. Travis Wood is scheduled to start. The game will be broadcast on Cubs.com.
* The Cubs have 35 players in camp, including six non-roster invitees. There are 18 pitchers, four catchers, seven infielders and six outfielders. Among the roster moves to be made include placing Scott Baker, Matt Garza and Ian Stewart on the disabled list.
* The Cubs open the regular season Monday in Pittsburgh with first pitch scheduled for 12:35 p.m. CT. Jeff Samardzija will get things started against A.J. Burnett at PNC Park. The game will be broadcast on WGN TV and WGN Radio 720.
Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro was headed to New York on Wednesday to be with his girlfriend, who is expecting the couple’s first child. Castro was expected to rejoin the Cubs in Houston for their final exhibition games. Castro was in the lineup for Wednesday’s game but scratched.
– Carrie Muskat
It’s Starlin Castro’s 23rd birthday, and he’ll be in the lineup Sunday when the Cubs travel to Goodyear to face the Indians. Chris Rusin, who will open the season in Triple-A Iowa’s rotation, gets the start. Dave Sappelt was scratched after getting hit on the right side of his neck by a ball in Saturday’s game. He’s got a large lump there. Here’s the revised lineup:
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs and White Sox square off on Friday at Glendale in a split squad game for the Cubs. Scott Feldman will start while the other half of the team faces Team Japan in an exhibition game at HoHoKam Stadium. This is the last meeting between the intracity rivals until a four-game home and road series May 27-30. This will be different than the six-game Interleague series the two teams have played in the past.
“I like it,” said Brent Lillibridge, a non-roster invitee for the Cubs, who has played for the White Sox in these games in the past. “Especially last year, after doing it for four years with the White Sox, it was a great experience and a lot of fun, but last year, I think the fans got stagnant a little bit and there wasn’t the intensity right away.
“I don’t know exactly why they changed it to four — I think because there’s so much Interleague play happening,” he said. “I think this will work good. A smaller series, even though it’s a four-game series — although it’s hard to win a four-game series — the less games will make it more fun for the fans who look forward to it. Also, away or home, you’re still at home. Two, you get to play in your own city and your fans for that time, it’s exciting and I like how it’s going. In the end, obviously, the most important thing for Chicago is they want to see that seven-game series and the World Series.
“[Intracity series] are always a great thing. Basically every city that has two teams loves that. It’s a great time of trash talking and all the stuff. Fans love it. I like that there are a few less games so it’s not dragged out process. We’ll just get them out of the way, have fun playing them and move on to playing our division.”
Do the players see them as exhibition games? Lillibridge says no.
“There’s a better vibe, more excitement, there’s more of a playoff feel to it because the fans are so rowdy,” he said. “We enjoy seeing the fans get at each other verbally and chanting, ‘Go White Sox’ and during the seventh inning stretch, screaming out. That’s the fun stuff about it. That’s why it’s been a fun part of the season every year. I think the four games is a good medium for going forward.”
Friday’s lineup at Glendale:
– Carrie Muskat
Starlin Castro is back in the Cubs lineup Wednesday, batting third against the Rockies at HoHoKam Stadium. It’s his first game action since Feb. 27 when he injured his hamstring. Here’s the lineup:
– Carrie Muskat
* Matt Garza played catch on Monday, making 25 tosses from about 45 feet, for the first time since he felt some soreness in his left lat. Garza had not been on a mound since Feb. 17 when he felt discomfort in his lat, and had to cut short a live BP session. Garza, not expected back for the first month, will rest Tuesday then resume throwing on Wednesday.
* Starlin Castro, Brent Lillibridge, Ian Stewart and Josh Vitters all ran the bases on Monday, and all should be in games by the end of the week. Castro, who has been out since Feb. 27 with tightness in his left hamstring, was expected to start Wednesday, while Lillibridge, who suffered a groin strain the same day, will get some at-bats on Wednesday.
The news is better for Stewart, who could get in a game on Thursday. He’s been out since Feb. 21 because of a sore left quad.
“I think there’s plenty of time now,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said about Stewart. “We were a little bit worried that it would be next week but everything’s gotten a little bit quicker.”
Stewart said Sunday he feels he’s the Cubs starting third baseman.
“He came in knowing it was a job he was going to have to just play well and produce,” Sveum said. “It’s still 16, 17 possible games left starting Thursday. You’re looking at hopefully cramming 30 at-bats into that and some Minor League at-bats, too.”
– Carrie Muskat
Neither Ian Stewart or Josh Vitters was expected to be ready until the weekend as both try to come back from sore left quads. The two Cubs third basemen have not played since an intrasquad game Feb. 21. Stewart hit a double in his only at-bat, then had to leave the game with soreness in his quad. He was projected to come back by mid week but now that’s been pushed back.
“Now it’s looking to the weekend,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “They’re still feeling it — both he and Vitters are the same thing. They’re still feeling stiffness when they’re jogging at 80 percent or running at 80 percent. Hopefully, maybe this weekend. Now it seems to be getting pushed back every day.”
Sveum had mentioned that Stewart would have to undergo a cram session to get ready in time for the regular season.
“It’s getting more crammy,” Sveum said.
There’s better news about Starlin Castro and Brent Lillibridge. Both of them should be back on Wednesday. Castro has been sidelined since Feb. 27 with tightness in his left hamstring, while Lillibridge was injured that day, suffering a strained groin.
On Sunday, the Cubs medical staff was to re-evaluate Matt Garza and see if he could begin a throwing program. He’s been out since Feb. 17 with a strained left lat.
Add another name to the injury list: Junior Lake was scratched from Sunday’s game. He has shoulder soreness, which Sveum called a “stiff trapeze.” He meant trapezius.
– Carrie Muskat