If Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro has shown anything in his young Major League career, it’s that he can hit, but is subject to lapses in the field. Whether those lapses are physical or mental is yet unclear, but one thing is certain: it’s gotta change. This team will not win anything if they’re not at least average defensively, and they won’t be average defensively if they’ve got one of the worst defensive shortstops in the game.
Manager Mike Quade realizes this, and he’s taking action.
Quade said he aid he had to ask himself: “Is it inexperience, is it concentration or focus?”
So Quade said he had a long talk with Castro on Wednesday morning at HoHoKam Park “about demanding a more intense approach in his practice sessions.” He asked infield coach Ivan DeJesus to change the fielding practice routine for Castro, to “bear down at the end of ground balls every day.”
On Monday, Castro got picked off first by San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey, then made a high throw to first the next inning.
“You get your work, you understand the situations that have been presented to you that day, but the last 3-5 minutes are game situation, period, Quade said. “Somehow, someway, put yourself into a game situation and play for keeps. The same on the bases when you run the bases in batting practice. Just to get him and anybody else that needs to be more focused.”
Quade said he was “not interested in panicking” because of the defensive problems, but felt it was time to talk to Castro. Chicago Breaking Sports.
Quade may not be interested in panicking, but he’s clearly concerned enough to devote special attention to the issue.
The problem with Castro is that even his errors are inconsistent – he’ll drop a pop up, then he won’t get down on a grounder, then he’ll airmail a throw. Given his obvious physical gifts, it seems likely that the issue is one of concentration and effort. Believe me, I hate saying that about a 21-year-old kid who still has plenty of room to grow, but it seems to be the case. Let’s just hope he does that growing, and Quade continues to help guide him there.