Sveum, Castro have closed-door meeting

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Sveum, Castro have closed-door meeting

Starlin Castro is in the Cubs lineup for Saturdays game against the Reds one day after he drew manager Dale Sveums ire for a baserunning blunder.
Sveum said after Fridays five-error loss to the Reds that he was unsure if Castro would play Saturday, and he said he would talk to the 22-year-old shortstop.
He had a long talk with Castro on Saturday, and the Cubs' shortstop is batting fifth against Reds starter Bronson Arroyo.
I talked to him for quite a while today, but nothing that I really want to share with anybody, Sveum said. Its more of a closed-doors meeting and it went well. He was completely, basically, I dont know if remorseful is the right word, but he knew he made a big mistake in a certain part of the game, five runs down. You have to be a little more prepared for that situation and do a little better job there, so it went good.
With the Cubs trailing by five runs in the sixth inning Friday, Castro led off with a single and attempted to steal second. On Josh Vitters single to right field. Castro didnt watch the ball and slowed down as he was decoyed by second baseman Brandon Phillips, who put up his glove as if he was going to receive a throw. Castro realized the ball was in play and tried to advance to third, where the Reds threw him out.
Though Castro is just 22 years old, hes in his third major-league season, and he told Sveum there was no excuse for his mistake.
I dont treat him any different than anybody else, Sveum said. He just happens to be a big focal point of the team because he is our shortstop and the shortstop that will be here for a long time.
The guys made leaps and bounds defensively and did a good job as far as concentration for most of the time. A lot of times, myself included as well as the media, blows him up as much as anybody else. Some other people have made some pretty bad mistakes too, but it doesnt get blown up as much either.
Sveum said he no longer sees consistent mental lapses from Castro.
Hes still an elite shortstop in the big leagues, Sveum said. Some people might have less errors, but a lot of people havent been able to do the things he can do at shortstop either.
Meanwhile, outfielder Brett Jackson is out of the Cubs lineup after he was involved in a collision in the eighth inning of Fridays game.
He felt like he got hit by a truck more than anything, Sveum said. More of a whiplash type of effect with that collision in center field.
Before Saturdays game, the Cubs also made roster moves, activating right-handed pitcher Lendy Castillo from the 15-day disabled list and optioning left-handed pitcher Scott Maine to Triple-A Iowa. Castillo was 0-1 with a 7.04 ERA in seven games with the Cubs before he went on the disabled list with a left groin strain. Maine was 1-1 with a 4.79 ERA in 21 games with the Cubs.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Cubs visit White House as World Series champions

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Cubs visit White House as World Series champions

On the latest edition of the SportsTalk Live Podcast, David Kaplan is joined by David Haugh (Chicago Tribune) and Jason Goch (SB Nation Radio) to discuss the Cubs' visit to the White House.

The guys reflect on the historic day and Theo Epstein's speech. Then, the panel breaks down the Packers' impressive run and question whether it's okay for Bears fans to appreciate Aarond Rodgers and company.

Finally, are the Wild the Blackhawks' biggest threat come playoff time?

Listen to the SportsTalk Live podcast below.

 

Does Cubs president Theo Epstein have a future in politics?

Does Cubs president Theo Epstein have a future in politics?

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama has a job for Theo Epstein whenever the Cubs executive gets bored or starts to feel restless and wants to think about life beyond baseball.  

After building up the Boston Red Sox and turning around the Cubs, how about Epstein using his leadership skills, analytical personality, sense of conviction and Ivy League education to save the Democratic Party?    

"His job is to quench droughts – 86 years in Boston, 108 in Chicago," Obama said during Monday's White House ceremony honoring the World Series champs. "He takes the reins of an organization that's wandering in the wilderness and delivers them to the promised land. I talked to him about being DNC chair."

Epstein stood behind the president doing a cut-it gesture and that became one of many laugh lines during an entertaining Obama speech that lasted more than 20 minutes and took place against the backdrop of Donald Trump's looming administration. Epstein – who headlined a Lincoln Park fundraiser during the 2012 reelection campaign and attended the president's farewell address last week at McCormick Place – doesn't see his future in politics.

At least "not as a candidate or an elected official," Epstein said during a media scrum afterward. "But I think there are a lot of ways that we can all impact our communities without necessarily running for office."

Epstein – a private person who would never want to subject his young family to that kind of scrutiny – looked like official Washington in a navy blue suit and a striped silver-and-blue tie. He delivered his own speech in the East Room, beginning it by saying "what a tough act to follow."

"We know you may have certain allegiances to another team on the other side of town," Epstein said to the world's most famous White Sox fan. "But we know you're a very proud Chicagoan. And we know your better, wiser half – the first lady – has been a lifelong and very loyal Cub fan, which we appreciate very much.

"Of course, we have great faith in your intelligence, your common sense, your pragmatism, your ability to recognize a good thing when you see one.

"So Mr. President, with only a few days remaining in your tremendous presidency, we have taken the liberty here today of offering you a midnight pardon.

"And so we welcome you with open arms."

This formal ceremony sounded personal for Epstein, who led the presentation giving Obama white and gray No. 44 jerseys, a 44 Wrigley Field scoreboard panel, a lifetime pass to the iconic stadium and an autographed W flag to someday fly at his presidential library on the South Side.  

"Everyone – no matter where you fall politically – can appreciate the dignity with which he served the country," Epstein said. "He did an unbelievable job handling the office and raising his family while here. I think, across the board, folks would agree that he's very dignified and brought a lot of integrity to the office. It was our pleasure to thank him for that today."

[RELATED: 'Among Sox fans, I'm the Cubs' No. 1 fan']

The DNC – or whatever Epstein does for his next act – will have to wait. Before that epic playoff run began, the Cubs locked up Epstein with a five-year deal believed to be worth in the neighborhood of $50 million, putting the future Hall of Fame executive in position to make another trip to the White House with a championship team.          

"Good thing I signed a contract with (chairman) Tom Ricketts," Epstein said. "He was kicking me, saying I can’t leave. It was a kind offer, though."