Starlin Castro admits pickoff was ‘not a smart play’
BY TONI GINNETTI email@example.com July 5, 2013 10:56PM
Updated: August 7, 2013 6:16AM
Even when something starts out right these days for Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro, it ends up going wrong.
On Thursday, it was failing to score on a would-be RBI single by Alfonso Soriano in a 1-0 loss at Oakland.
On Friday, it was getting picked off second base to end the eighth inning after hitting a double.
‘‘Not a smart play,’’ he said. ‘‘I feel really, really bad. Down by four, eighth inning, that run doesn’t mean anything.
‘‘I was trying to be aggressive, but [I shouldn’t] in that situation,’’ he said of getting a jump with two strikes on Dioner Navarro. ‘‘Hopefully it doesn’t happen again.’’
Castro’s seasonlong woes at the plate and in the field have made him a target of criticism. But the double also gave Castro a six-game hitting streak, during which he has gone 8-for-26 (.308). Since being given his first day off June 25 after playing in 269 consecutive games, Castro has reached safely in eight of nine games.
‘‘I don’t want to put pressure on myself [at the plate],’’ he said. ‘‘I want to be aggressive but not put pressure on myself. Just play baseball.’’
Time to stretch
Carlos Villanueva will start Sunday, but he probably will be limited as he transitions into a starting role again. Villanueva pitched 22/3 innings Tuesday.
‘‘He’ll need a couple more outings to stretch out, maybe four innings up and down, then six innings,’’ manager Dale Sveum said. ‘‘But other than that, he’s done this many, many times in his career.’’
In the swing
David DeJesus worked out every day at Wrigley Field while the team was on its 10-day road trip. He took 50 swings off a tee Friday, the third day he has swung a bat.
‘‘It was a positive day, and things are progressing,’’ he said.
DeJesus injured his shoulder June 16 crashing into the outfield wall at Citi Field. His replacement, Ryan Sweeney, suffered a fractured rib when he hit the wall June 30 in Seattle.
‘‘I hope I didn’t start something,’’ DeJesus said. ‘‘It’s unfortunate, but it’s how we play the game.’’
Sweeney, who’s on the 60-day disabled list, won’t be able to engage in any activities for some time.
The most recent outfield injury is a bothersome hamstring for Brian Bogusevic, who’s day-to-day.