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updated: 8/18/2013 7:17 PM

'Nervous' Castro right back in Cubs' lineup

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  • Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro, here reacting after striking out Sunday in the fifth inning, thanked manager Dale Sveum for putting him back the lineup the day after being taken out for a mental miscue.

    Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro, here reacting after striking out Sunday in the fifth inning, thanked manager Dale Sveum for putting him back the lineup the day after being taken out for a mental miscue.
    Associated Press


Enough was enough as far as Cubs manager Dale Sveum was concerned.

Less than 24 hours after yanking shortstop Starlin Castro from a game because Castro made a mental error, Sveum had him right back in the lineup for Sunday's 6-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field.

The manager figured he had made his point, so why belabor it or beat Castro over the head with it?

Sveum met with Castro both Saturday and Sunday after Castro allowed a run to score on a pop fly to short left field. Castro put his head down after making the catch with the bases loaded, and the Cardinals' Jon Jay alertly scored.

After the half-inning was over, Sveum met Castro in the dugout and told him his day was done.

The Cubs and Castro needed to move on after that, and Sveum correctly began that process Sunday.

"The way I look at it is obviously, enough punishment, if that's the right word or not, 'punishment,' but I think to be embarrassed and to be on national TV and what's written in the paper today, that's plenty enough," Sveum said.

"These kinds of things happen time to time, and they're getting less and less. I don't think this kid can get better by not playing today and understanding the adversity we all go through in the game.

"Obviously, we all know his struggles at the plate this year, as well."

The 23-year-old Castro was 1-for-3 with a walk and 2 strikeouts Sunday. He also made a nice catch on a hard line drive off the bat of Matt Holliday.

Castro was in good spirits before the game, and he was on the field during batting practice taking grounders at short.

He seemed glad his manager had faith enough in him to put him back out there.

"I said thanks for that," Castro said. "I think sometimes you do something like that (make a mental error) and the next day, you can't play. He put me in there. It's nice, and I feel pretty good."

He also admitted to some nervousness before the game.

"It's tough sometimes; it's a little tough when that kind of thing happens," he said. "The next day, you feel like you're a little nervous because you don't want to make a mistake, not even an error.

"My first groundball, I felt a little bit nervous because I don't want to make an error (after) that happened yesterday. Just go out there and be positive and don't let it happen again."

The Cubs are heavily invested in Castro, to the tune of $60 million through the 2019 season.

If Castro is going to be part of this team in the future, he needs to be good physically and mentally. If team president Theo Epstein decides Castro is not his kind of player, the Cubs have to be able to get something of value in return.

Sveum cited Castro being contrite as part of the reason for running him out there Sunday.

"He's manned up, and takes the responsibility and does a lot of things," Sveum said. "But obviously we need those things to come to a stop as well as he does.

"He's a smart kid, and the one thing I don't want the public or anyone to think this kid's by any means a bad kid to where we know some people in the past are bad people.

"This guy's a great human being, a great kid and tries to do the best he can. We've got to get that out of him."

And as far as Sveum was concerned, there's only one way to do that.

"You keep playing," he said. "There's no experiences better than just playing and learning and learning from your mistakes. There's nothing else you can do.

"This guy's a good player that we have to have play well when we are ready to win a championship. He's got to be here. He's under contract.

"We know it's all there, and we've got to get it out of him. The bottom line is it gets to this point where you have to do it yourself as a player. You're turning into a young man that's been here four years, and there comes a time where we all as players and men have to do things ourselves."

As we've previously written, this is going to have to be a joint effort, with Castro taking responsibility and not repeating the mental lapses and the Cubs providing him the coaching he needs.

Sveum was ready to give it all a rest after Sunday's game.

"This kid's been pretty good," he said. "We had one, obviously, big blunder yesterday. But there haven't been a whole lot of other ones. We're not going to start nitpicking every day."

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