Tag:Starlin Castro
Posted on: May 10, 2011 7:21 pm

Cubs drop Castro to seventh in lineup

CHICAGO -- The Cubs have been asking a lot of 21-year-old Starlin Castro.

You wonder if they've been asking too much.

Castro is slumping, and on Tuesday manager Mike Quade dropped him to seventh in the order.

"We're trying to help the kid and get him out of a mess," Quade said before the game against the Cardinals. "I don't think four or five games with struggles is a concern, but two or three weeks can be."

Castro hit .418 in his first 15 games this year, but he's 14-for-73 (.192) with just four runs scored, five RBI and a .443 OPS in his last 17 games.

Until Tuesday, Castro was in the top third of the batting order for every game. Tuesday, Quade used Kosuke Fukudome, Darwin Barney and Marlon Byrd in the top three spots.
Category: MLB
Posted on: April 26, 2011 7:24 pm

Like Castro, Vizquel had a 3-error day -- once

NEW YORK -- The day Omar Vizquel made three errors in a game, he vowed it would never happen again.

"It never has," Vizquel said Tuesday. "So far."

So far. It's only been 17 years and one week since that April 16, 1994 game at Jacobs Field, when Vizquel's three errors helped cost the Indians a game against the Royals.

"I remember, right after that, I went 72 games without an error," Vizquel said. "It was a wakeup call for me. And I'm sure it will be for him."

By "him," Vizquel meant Starlin Castro, the Cubs shortstop who committed three errors -- all in one inning -- Monday night.

"Days like that, anybody could have," said Vizquel, now a 44-year-old utility infielder with the White Sox. "Obviously, he got out of focus a little."

Vizquel get out of focus a lot less frequently than most. Six years after his three-error game, he went through the entire 2000 season (playing 156 games) and made just three errors.

"That's crazy," he said. "It's hard to go through a season with that few errors. The hard thing is keeping the focus. And, you know, I wanted to finish with two errors."

It's fashionable these days to pretend that the traditional fielding stats are meaningless, and it's true that fielding percentage isn't the best way to measure a player's defense. But Vizquel, one of the best defensive shortstops ever, said that he always concerned himself with how many errors he made.

"That first error of the year always kills you," he said. "I remember one year, I went through spring training without making one, then went the first two months with no errors.

"You're hoping they don't call one on you [on a close play]."

Posted on: March 6, 2010 3:12 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2010 5:17 pm

Cubs get bad news on Guzman

MESA, Ariz. -- The Cubs say that reliever Angel Guzman has a "very unstable shoulder" that is serious enough to leave his career in doubt.

"Obviously, this wasn't good news," general manager Jim Hendry said this morning, after announcing the results from the MRI exam that Guzman had on Friday.

Guzman has a significant tear in a ligament in his right shoulder, and there isn't good history of pitchers coming back from the type of surgery he would need. While the Cubs and Guzman haven't yet decided on a course of action, he could try to treat it for 4-6 weeks and hope that he's able to return without surgery.

In any case, the Cubs won't be able to count on Guzman, who they were hoping to have as one of their main set-up men in front of closer Carlos Marmol.

Hendry said that he has already been looking outside the organization for bullpen help, and that he'll continue to do so. Manager Lou Piniella said that the Cubs could rely on some of the pitchers currently competing for the fourth and fifth spots in the starting rotation.

Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster and Randy Wells occupy the first three spots in the rotation, and Ted Lilly will also be there once he is ready to pitch. But Lilly will miss the start of the season, so the Cubs need to choose two more starters from among Carlos Silva, Jeff Samardzija, Tom Gorzelanny and Sean Marshall.

The 28-year-old Guzman appeared in 55 games for the Cubs in 2009, with a 2.95 ERA and a .192 opponents batting average.

"At one point, this guy was as good a prospect as [Carlos Zambrano]," Hendry said.

More revelations from a day with the two Chicago teams:

-- Lou Piniella uses an iPhone. But don't get the idea that Piniella is suddenly becoming tech-savvy. Asked if he used any apps on the phone, he responded with a blank stare. "I'd rather talk to someone face to face than e-mail them," he said.

--Ozzie Guillen said that because he considers Piniella a friend and because he has such respect for Hendry, he doesn't root against the Cubs. "The only reason I don't want [the Cubs to go to the World Series] is the fans," he said.

-- Guillen said that when he wrote on his Twitter account that today was "a big game," he was referring to the other White Sox split-squad game, because Freddy Garcia is starting. But then he said, "I tied Mike Scioscia [on Thursday] and lost to Joe Torre [on Friday]. I hope I can beat Lou Piniella."

-- The Cubs continue to rave about what good shape Geovany Soto is in this spring. The Cubs are counting on bounce-back years from Soto, Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez. Soriano played left field today, and said: "It's great ot play this game with no pain. If I stay healthy, I'll have no problems putting up good numbers for me and the team. Just stay healthy. That's the key."

-- Silva doesn't look slim, and neither does his spring ERA after giving up six runs in two innings (including two long Carlos Quentin home runs) in his Cubs debut today. "I've been working on a lot of stuff, and there's still a lot of stuff to work on," he said.

-- Cubs coach Alan Trammell said he's been asked often about the comparison with 19-year-old Starlin Castro, the Cubs big shortstop prospect who came to camp with a longshot chance to make the team. Trammell had just turned 20 when he made the Tigers out of spring training in 1978, and Castro will be 20 by opening day. "The one thing against him is that we're the Chicago Cubs and we're expected to win," Trammell said. The '78 Tigers were coming off an 88-loss season.

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