CHICAGO -- All-Star shortstop Starlin Castro was back leading off for the Chicago Cubs against Atlanta on Tuesday night after sitting out a game because he wasn't paying attention in the field as a pitch was thrown.
TV cameras caught Castro kicking at the dirt and then walking toward the outfield, never looking toward home plate, as reliever James Russell delivered to St. Louis' Daniel Descalso in the sixth inning of Sunday night's 6-2 loss. ESPN aired a clip of the play the next inning and analyst Bobby Valentine spent nearly seven minutes criticizing Castro and the Cubs' inability to get him to focus. The network also showed him in the field looking at the sky and standing with his glove off.
"I know I can be a really good player," he said.
The 21-year-old Castro was leading the National League with 164 hits entering Tuesday's game, but his focus has been an issue at times.
"I was disappointed because we've spent a ton of time and emphasis on this [mental] part of his game," manager Mike Quade said.
He said Castro "needs to be alert" and added, "He didn't realize the inning was starting."
Third baseman Aramis Ramirez was quick to point out Castro will make mistakes since he is young. The veteran also said too much was being made of this because it happened during a nationally televised game.
"I think so," Ramirez said. "That stuff shouldn't happen. He'll be the first one to tell you that shouldn't happen."
Right there with Castro would be Quade, who said, "The youth part of it's over."
Quade said Castro might overlook the mental part of the game because he's talented, something that has to stop.
"When everything comes so natural to you, sometimes the mental part of it -- and now you get here and all of a sudden, your talent isn't enough," Quade said.