Castro focused on eliminating lapses

Starlin Castro's mental lapses have been well chronicled, but he vows those are in the past. Brian Kersey/Getty Images

MESA, Ariz. -- A focused and motivated Starlin Castro believes the Chicago Cubs will be better this season -- and that includes himself.

"I want to be everything," Castro said on Tuesday. "Power, steal more bases, hit for average."

More than anything, the Cubs shortstop wants to be better on defense. He saw teammate Darwin Barney win a Gold Glove at second base and wants to be the next one to win one.

"It's good motivation for me," he said. "I know I can be like that guy ... I know that God give me that, that I can hit. That's why I work hard on my defense. Be like Barney."

The 2012 season was up and down for the two-time All-Star. He started hot but struggled during contract negotiations. Once those were complete -- he signed a 7 year, $60 million deal in August -- he came on in the second half, hitting .313 in September. Then there were the mental lapses like when he forgot how many outs there were while on defense. He vowed those are a thing of the past.

"This year I concentrate more on my game plan," he said. "Going to be perfect."

The Cubs expect a lot from the 22-year-old. President Theo Epstein says he's expecting a break-out season on offense after Castro hit .283 with 14 home runs and 83 runs batted in. He also struck out 100 times and walked just 36. Castro says he'll be more relaxed, looking for more walks.

"I can hit more than that," he said.

His manager wants more, as well, but in a different way.

"The next step for him is to become more of a winning type hitter," Dale Sveum said. "Just understanding any situation, about driving in runs and having good at-bats in key situations and not trying to do too much when the game is on the line."

Castro sounds like a man not resting on his laurels. When asked how good he can be if the team around him is better, he said: "Be more of a superstar than I am. That I'm supposed to be. I know I can be pretty good because I'm not lazy."

He says he worked at the Cubs facility in the Dominican Republic all winter "on my defense" and believes only good things will come for the Cubs infield.

"(We're going) to win Gold Gloves, (at) shortstop, second base and first," he declared. "Because (Anthony) Rizzo is good, too."

Castro believes the Cubs will be better because they have "four good starters" and everyone came into spring training with the right attitude.

"This year is going to be happy," he said. "It's going to be a good season for us. Everyone came to spring training ready. This year is going to be a fun year for us ... The only thing I want is to help my team to win."