CHICAGO -- The first person to console Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro after he was benched in the fifth inning of Saturday’s 4-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals after a mental gaffe in the field was veteran outfielder David DeJesus.
But just because DeJesus tried to make Castro feel better doesn’t mean he disagreed with manager Dale Sveum’s move.
“We know Starlin is trying out there, it’s just one of those hiccups,” DeJesus said Sunday morning. “Dale, I think, did the right thing in taking him out of the game.”
Castro was late throwing home on a pop-up to shallow left field after Cardinals base-runner Jon Jay tagged up from third. When the inning was over Sveum told Castro he was done for the day. That’s when DeJesus put his arm around Castro.
“I just wanted to tell him, ‘Hey man it’s all right. We make mistakes. Now it's time to learn from it and never do it again,’” DeJesus recalled. “He knew he did something wrong, there’s no reason to beat the (dead) horse.”
Sveum felt the same way, inserting Castro back in the lineup for Sunday’s series finale against the Cardinals.
“I don’t think this kid can get better by not playing (Sunday),” Sveum said. “To be embarrassed on national television, and what’s in the paper today and all that, that’s plenty enough.”
It’s the right move by Sveum. Castro’s mid-game benching was the first of his career. The point was made. Now it’s time to see if it had an effect.
“He’s still the future to the franchise,” Dejesus said. “He needs to play the game the right way. It’s good he’s back in there and build his confidence back up.
“Sometimes you have to take someone down to the bottom to bring him back up.”
And so while meetings and occasional days off have all been tried, the hope is the shock of being benched in front of “three million watching on television and 40,000 more in the park” will make a difference. Sveum and DeJesus are hoping that’s the case.
“You need your shortstop to be the leader of the team,” DeJesus said. “On every winning team you see your shortstop be that guy. He has to understand, ‘I’m the guy everyone has to be leaning on.’”
Sveum added: “It’s at that time of his career where those things need to start happening where people look up to him.”
“He’s manned up, and knows and takes the responsibility,” Sveum continued. “I don’t want the public to think by any means this kid is a bad kid. He’s a great human being and great kid.”