Sveum rips Castro after latest gaffe

Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro is in hot water with his manager for the second year in a row, this time stemming from a mental error in Monday's loss to San Francisco. The Sports Xchange details that and more in this notebook.

For the second consecutive season, shortstop Starlin Castro is in hot water with his manager.

Last year, Mike Quade needed to give Castro a "mental break" for inattentive play. After Monday's 3-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants, manager Dale Sveum was fuming about a lapse by Castro at the second-base bag.

With one out and the bases loaded in the fifth inning, the Giants' Brandon Crawford grounded to second baseman Darwin Barney, who flipped to Castro at second for the forceout. In fairness to Castro, there might not have been time for a double play, but he made no throw, apparently thinking there were three outs. Earlier in the series, Castro attempted to steal a base but got a poor jump and was tagged out standing up.

Sveum sounded an ominous tone.

"It's the last straw," the manager said. "He better start getting his head in the game, period.

"It's something, obviously, that's unacceptable at any time. Whether we could've turned the double play or not is irrelevant to not knowing how many outs there are in the most important part of the game. It's not acceptable. These things have got to stop happening, or we're just going to stop playing him. These kind of things are things my son does in high school, maybe."

Castro was an All-Star last year and led the National League in hits, but at 22, his attention wanders at times. To his credit, he always owns up.

"That kind of thing can't happen because it's very embarrassing for me, my teammates, the manager, everybody," Castro said.

The Cubs, who were swept in this four-game series, go from San Francisco to Milwaukee to open a series Tuesday. Castro, who has played in every game this year, might want to check the lineup card.

NOTES, QUOTES

--CF Albert Almora went to the Cubs in the first round (sixth overall) of the amateur draft. The 18-year-old Almora is a 6-foot-2, 180-pounder out of Mater Academy Charter in Hialeah Gardens, Fla. The pick comes as no surprise; the Cubs had scouted him extensively. "The easy answer is that he was the top player on our board," said Jason McLeod, the Cubs' senior VP for scouting and player development. "We've spent a lot of time with Albert. We've seen him play a lot the last couple of years." This season, Almora was 44-for-73 (.603) with 13 doubles, five triples, six home runs and 34 RBI in 25 games.

--LF Alfonso Soriano will serve as the primary DH for interleague games in American League parks, said manager Dale Sveum. That means the Cubs do not plan to bring up first-base prospect Anthony Rizzo, about whom there was DH discussion. "Right now, there is no thought" of bringing Rizzo up, Sveum said.

--RHP Jeff Samardzija got a no-decision against the Giants, but he threw 110 pitches in just five innings, walking five and striking out six. "Their whole lineup made me work," he said. "I need to be in the zone early in the count. It's kind of a broken record when I have outings like this."

--1B Byran LaHair extended his hitting streak to six games by going 1-for-4. The Cubs would like to see LaHair crank up the power again. LaHair is batting .321 with 10 home runs, but he has not homered since May 15.

--RHP Michael Bowden, designated for assignment last week, cleared waivers and was assigned outright to Class AAA (Des Moines) Iowa. The Cubs obtained Bowden on April 21 in a trade for CF Marlon Byrd.

--INF Adrian Cardenas came up with a pinch-hit double off Giants starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong. All five of Cardenas' hits since his call-up from Class AAA (Des Moines) Iowa have been doubles. He is the first Cub to begin his major league career with five extra-base hits since Frank Ernaga in 1957.

BY THE NUMBERS: 11 -- Cubs' current losing streak on the road, their longest since an 11-gamer in 1954.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "You take things like this personally. I've lost sleep over it. You take pride in a lot of things, and that's one of them."

-- Manager Dale Sveum on the Cubs' lack of offensive production

MEDICAL WATCH:

--C Welington Castillo (sprained medial collateral ligament in right knee) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 19.

--RHP Lendy Castillo (left groin strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 12.

--C Geovany Soto (arthroscopic left knee surgery) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 17. He underwent a procedure May 18 to repair a torn meniscus. He is expected to be out until mid-June.

--RHP Marcos Mateo (ulnar neuritis in right arm) went on the 60-day disabled list April 4.


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