Fittest loser
Article updated: 5/20/2013 7:03 AM

Castro's potential all 'up to him'

Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro canít handle a hit by the Metsí Daniel Murphy during the first inning of Saturdayís game at Wrigley Field.

Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro can't handle a hit by the Mets' Daniel Murphy during the first inning of Saturday's game at Wrigley Field.

 

Associated Press

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The Cubs are still looking for more from shortstop Starlin Castro.

He began the weekend series against the New York Mets with 2 singles off ace Matt Harvey. Since then, he went 0-for-11. He has a hitting line of .273/.304/.388.

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Castro did not look great in the field over the weekend. He also has shown a tendency to swing at pitches out of the strike zone in favorable counts.

Since Castro came up in 2010, each Cubs manager -- Lou Piniella, Mike Quade and Dale Sveum -- has touted the 23-year-old's potential, but each has sounded cautions.

"His potential is what he wants it to be," Sveum said Sunday before the Cubs' 4-3 loss. "That's the bottom line. How good he wants to be, that's up to him.

"The hard work and the concentration levels and being able to have all kinds of things in your toolbox as a shortstop as well as a hitter. He's got all the ability to be top of the line, but the rest of it's up to him."

When Sveum was asked how far Castro had progressed, he gave an interesting answer.

"Not as much as I think we'd all like to see," the manager said. "There's still the lapses. Mentally, I think he's gotten a lot better, but physically, things like that, we're seeing a lot of the same stuff that we still need to get better at on a consistent daily basis with concentration of at-bats and defense and all that, too.

"He's got the potential. Those things, when you get to this level and you've played this much, the rest is up to him how good he wants to be."

Castro seemed to agree the approach needs to be better at times.

"Sometimes I need to be taking my pitches and not swing at bad pitches," he said. "But I felt pretty good. I hit the ball twice hard. I think if the wind wasn't blowing in, those balls would have gone pretty good."

Nothing but quality:

By turning in his ninth quality start in 9 outings, lefty Travis Wood moved ahead of lefty Hippo Vaughn, who began the 1919 season with 8 quality starts.

Mordecai Brown began the 1908 season with 11 straight quality starts, all complete games.

Wood said he's not feeling any more confident now than he did before.

"I always had that, regardless of how things are going," he said. "That's got to be the goal. That way you're getting deep into ballgames and helping your team win."

Wood's fifth-inning home run was the second by a Cubs pitcher this year. In May, Cubs pitchers are batting .306 (11-for-36) with 5 doubles, the 2 homers and 11 RBI.

"So far, our pitchers have really held up that 9-hole right now," Wood said.

Roster move coming:

With Matt Garza coming off the disabled list Tuesday, look for the Cubs to designate reliever Michael Bowden for assignment. Bowden is 1-2 with a 3.78, and he has outpitched some others in the bullpen, but he's caught in a roster squeeze.

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