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updated: 6/5/2012 11:02 PM

Castro plays for Cubs, but it was 'last straw'

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  • The Cubs' Starlin Castro rounds first base after hitting a double in the eighth inning. Castro was back in the lineup one day after forgetting how many outs there were in a game at San Francisco.

      The Cubs' Starlin Castro rounds first base after hitting a double in the eighth inning. Castro was back in the lineup one day after forgetting how many outs there were in a game at San Francisco.
    Associated Press


MILWAUKEE -- Give Cubs manager Dale Sveum credit for allowing his own cooler head to prevail.

One day after angrily saying a mental error by shortstop Starlin Castro was "the last straw," Sveum had Castro right back in the starting lineup Tuesday night at Miller Park.

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It turned out pretty well in the Cubs' 10-0 victory. Castro was 3-for-5 with a double and a run scored. He also had 3 putouts and 6 assists in the field.

Sveum said he and Castro had a talk in the wake of Castro losing track of the outs at San Francisco. Castro started running off the field after making a forceout even though there were only two outs.

"He felt awful about it," Sveum said. "I know he talked to you guys (Monday) and felt horrible about the event that occurred. We talked about it, trying to eliminate those kinds of things from happening.

"He knows that. He knows he's got to get better at the focus part of it. He felt as bad as anybody about it.

"We make a big thing out of it. Was it a big thing? Of course it was. But the fact of the matter is veterans do the same thing too sometimes. So it's not a case of a guy being young and all that."

Then came the upshot.

"You're not going to bench a guy for something like that," Sveum said. "You're going to bench guys for not playing hard and not preparing and things like that."

Immediately I thought back to last year, when then-manager Mike Quade sat Castro for inattentive play. Then I thought about other Cubs managers of recent vintage. Would any of them have handled the Castro situation as coolly as Sveum did? Lou Piniella? Dusty Baker? Don Baylor? I doubt it.

That doesn't mean Sveum has forgotten about the "last-straw" comment.

"I'm not reneging on what I said," the manager stressed. "He knows that. It's 'the last straw,' meaning a number of things, not just something that's a brain (cramp) on the field. The whole packing, doing everything he can to make himself and the people around (him) better."

Most impressive is the perspective Sveum seemed to have on Castro, on many levels. Instead of benching a "young player" to teach him a lesson, he looked at the bigger picture.

"He's had a few incidents, obviously. But people obviously forget that he's come a long way defensively. He hasn't made a fielding error in maybe six weeks. We're forgetting about the big picture that the guy's hitting .300, his defense has come a long way and everything has come a long way as far as I'm concerned, looking on the other side of the fence.

"We've basically have one little major hiccup yesterday. It wasn't the reason we lost the game."

For his part, Castro said he just relaxed and played baseball and that Sveum's talk helped.

"That's what I do, go out and play baseball and don't think about it," he said. "It helped me a lot because he talked to me. I listened to him because it's my fault. It starts today, a new day. Don't think about it. Let's go hard and don't let that happen again."

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