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Alfonso Soriano says Starlin Castro needs to “concentrate more on the game”

Aug 11, 2012, 5:45 PM EDT

Starlin Castro AP AP

Starlin Castro wasn’t the only member of the Cubs who made mistakes in yesterday’s loss to the Reds at Wrigley Field. In fact, the Cubs committed five errors for the first time since 2006. But the 22-year-old was the focus after the game.

Castro, who has a history of mental lapses, committed a fielding error on a slow roller in the top of the third inning and was involved in a baserunning blunder in the bottom of the sixth. The gaffe on the basepaths was particularly facepalm-worthy. After Castro reached on a bloop single that nearly got him thrown out at first base for making a wide turn around the bag, he lost track of the ball on a single by Josh Vitters to right field and was thrown out at third base after being deked by Brandon Phillips at second base.

Cubs manager Dale Sveum initially didn’t rule out the possibility of benching Castro to send a message, but he was back in the lineup this afternoon following a closed-door meeting. Sveum wouldn’t really disclose what was said, but veteran outfielder Alfonso Soriano also met with Castro and told Doug Padilla of that the young shortstop’s brain still needs to catch up with his obvious physical gifts.

“It can be hard (to be so young), but we play baseball because we love baseball and that’s what we do for a living; that’s our career,” Soriano said. “We have to prepare 100 percent. Like I said to him yesterday, it’s not only catch the ball and throw the ball and hit the ball. This game is more mental. You have to prepare mentally and physically too. Not just physical. You have to prepare yourself mentally and all those little errors mentally cannot happen in this game.”

“He’ll be fine, but like I said, he needed motivation,” Soriano said. “He has to concentrate more on the game because it’s only a 3-3½ hour game. After that you can do whatever you want. You have plenty of time.”

Castro, who is now in his third year in the big leagues, entered play Saturday with a .275/.305/.417 batting line to go along with 11 home runs, 56 RBI and a .723 OPS. He is just 18-for-28 in stolen base attempts (his 10 caught stealings are tied with Willie Bloomquist of the Diamondbacks for the major league lead) while his 17 errors tie him with Dee Gordon of the Dodgers for the major league lead among shortstops.

  1. braddavery - Aug 11, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    You know you have a problem when this is coming from Alfonso Soriano.

    • professormaddog31 - Aug 11, 2012 at 7:21 PM

      that’s basically the only comment one needs to leave on this story. SMH Cubs. S.M.H.

    • dondada10 - Aug 11, 2012 at 8:08 PM

      In fairness to Soriano, he has worked very hard on his outfield defense. In fact, UZR has him the top rated LFer.

      • deadeyedesign23 - Aug 11, 2012 at 10:55 PM

        Yeah i think that in years past this comment would be appropriate, but Soriano has been a monster this year and rededicated himself to playing his position well. UZR’s ratings on LF have always been a bit off and it’s a fairly small sample size, but just from watching the games I’ve noticed a big improvement in his game.

      • 18thstreet - Aug 12, 2012 at 9:30 AM

        Having watching Soriano for a year on the Nationals, I never thought he was anything but a professional. It’s not his fault he’s overpaid.

    • berseliusx - Aug 12, 2012 at 9:34 AM

      Say what you want about Soriano’s awful contract, but everyone who’s ever played with him agrees that he’s the hardest worker on the team and a fantastic clubhouse guy. He’s more or less on pace for a 30 HR / 100 RBI season and his defense has improved to the point that even noted critic Bob Brenly is complimenting on it, despite the fact that he’s playing on knees held together with duct tape and baling wire.

  2. sabatimus - Aug 11, 2012 at 9:35 PM

    Thus saith the Sieve.

  3. ezthinking - Aug 11, 2012 at 11:34 PM

    Soriano may have physically broken down, and not a gifted fielder, but mental errors are not a part of his game. So hate on him for getting the 40-40 salary they pay him, but it’s injury, not lack of effort or mental deficiencies that caused the overpay.

  4. bleedgreen - Aug 12, 2012 at 10:39 AM

    Castro needs motivation? Motivation comes in the form of your paycheck. He’s on a 1 year $550K contract right now. If he looks shitty and plays shitty, he’s not going to make a lot next year. If he plays as best as he’s capable, that could triple or even quadruple the payday.

    Play for the love of baseball all you want, but you’re also playing for money. Thats why you’re a professional and not playing in the independent leagues.

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