Sveum sees too much movement in Castro approach
Much of the pregame talk today with Cubs manager Dale Sveum centered on shortstop Starlin Castro. We’ll get to that here. One housekeeping item: The Cubs said today reliever Kyuji Fujikawa will see Dr. James Andrews Monday and that’s it’s likely he’ll have Tommy John surgery Tuesday on his right elbow.
As for Castro, he bats seventh again today against Pirates right-hander A.J. Burnett. Castro enters the game with a hitting line of .250/.291/.348 with 3 home runs, 21 RBI, 11 walks and 43 strikeouts in 244 at-bats. The BABIP is .293, and Castro has a low weighted on-base average (wOBA) of .282. Castro was out early today doing some work with hitting coach James Rowson. As far as Sveum (a hitting coach by trade) sees it, there’s too much movement in Castro’s approach.
“It’s an everyday battle obviously, right now, with whatever mechanics are bad or if it’s in the head,” Sveum said. “He’s a cut-and-slasher who’s going to swing the bat. I’d like to see him back to where he was in 2010 and 2011 when there was a lot less movement going on. He thinks they’re the same mechanics, but they’re not the same mechanics as what he came up in the big leagues and in 2011.”
“It might look the same, but it’s way more movement as the pitch is being delivered.”
Sveum cited several differences between now and 2010 and 2011.
“There’s the leg kick, way more open stance and a lot more movement in the hands,” he said. “With the naked eye it all looks a little bit the same, but it’s not the same. In his first two seasons, he was around a .770 OPS with that, just a lot less movement was going on.
“With his hand-eye coordination, when you nail it down to a lot less movement, he should be able to hit every pitch because the rest of his mechanics are right there with some of the best hitters, the way his backside works, how he gets to a stiff front side. The hand-eye coordination, period, adds up to a guy that can hit.”
Would Sveum consider a day off for Castro?
“It’s getting closer,” he said. “I’m thinking about it more, I should say.”
From the game notes: The Cubs are 18-17 against opponents outside the NL Central, but have a 6-17 (.261) record within the division. The 6 wins are the fewest for any club within its own division this season … Today’s starting pitcher, Jeff Samardzija, is sporting a 2.96 ERA in 12 starts, yet has a 3-6 record. He is one of just four major-league starting pitchers to have 3 or fewer wins despite an ERA under 3.00, joining Boston’s John Lackey (3-5, 2.79), Kansas City’s James Shields (2-6, 2.81) and Washington’s Stephen Strasburg (3-5, 2.54) … The Cubs rank second in the National League and seventh in all of baseball, averaging 3.89 pitches seen per plate appearance. In the NL, only the Mets (3.94) have seen more. At the same time, the Cubs rank last in the majors with 138 walks.
Class AAA Iowa fell 3-1 to Round Rock in a game that saw Junior Lake make his outfield debut in right. He went 2-for-3 with a double, a stolen base and an RBI.
“Now I can play every position,” Lake told Tommy Birch of the Des Moines Register. “I don’t care what position I play.”
From the Register: “He made a pair of nice catches, first on a hard-hit ball by Robinson Chirinos to the right-center field gap in the third inning. Lake made a running grab and robbed Chirinos of an extra-base hit. An inning later, Lake backpedaled to the warning track to make a catch against the wall on a ball hit by Aaron Cunningham.”
Chris Rusin took the loss, working 8 innings and giving up 3 hits and 2 runs while walking two and striking out seven.
Steve Clevenger was 1-for-4, a double, in the fourth game of his rehab. H has hit safely in all four games. Brent Lillibridge was 3-for-5
Class AA Tennessee lost 6-1 to Mobile. Austin Kirk pitched 6 innings, giving up 10 hits and 6 runs. Jonathan Mota hit his third homer, and Matt Szczur was 3-for-4.
Daytona (A) lost 7-6 to Brevard County. Matt Loosen took the loss. He pitched 5 innings, giving up 7 hits and 6 runs. Zeke DeVoss was 3-for-3 with 3 stolen bases. Javier Baez (.281) went 2-for-5. He is hitting .476 (10-for-21) with 4 doubles, 1 home run and 7 RBI in five June game
The Kane County Cougars beat Burlington 3-2 with Tayler Scott getting the win. He worked 7 innings, giving up 8 hits and 2 runs, 1 earned. He is 3-2 with a 4.18 ERA.
Jeimer Candelario hit his second homer and has a seven-game hitting streak, during which he’s 12-for-30. Albert Almora went 1-for-4; he is 23-for-57 this year. Bijan Rademacher (.324) went 2-for-4 with a double