Cubs put Starlin Castro on notice: Get your head in the game

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Cubs put Starlin Castro on notice: Get your head in the game

SAN FRANCISCO Theres no guarantee that this would have been a double play, but youll never know, because Starlin Castro didnt throw the ball to first base.

That mental mistake will bring those questions about the 22-year-old All-Star shortstop bubbling back up to the surface.

Its the last straw, Cubs manager Dale Sveum said after Mondays 3-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants. If he wants to play, he better start getting his head in the game. Period.

With the bases loaded at AT&T Park, Jeff Samardzija induced a groundball to second baseman Darwin Barney, who flipped it to Castro. That game-changing moment confirmed some of the worst fears inside the organization.

Castro touched the bag, avoided Brandon Belts slide into second base and kept on gliding, seemingly unaware that there were now only two outs in the fifth inning. The Giants scored the game-tying run and finished off a four-game sweep that left the Cubs (18-36) with 11 consecutive losses on the road.

Its not acceptable, Sveum said. These things got to stop happening or were just going to stop playing. These are things that my son does in high school maybe.

Sveum said it was irrelevant whether or not Castro could have turned the double play.

Its very embarrassing, Castro said. These things cant happen. I apologize to my team and everybody, because that type of thing is not supposed to happen.

Bears reportedly won't franchise tag Alshon Jeffery, so what's next?

Bears reportedly won't franchise tag Alshon Jeffery, so what's next?

NFL.com's Insider Ian Rapoport dropped a news bomb in the middle of the night, Tweeting in the wee hours of Monday morning that the Bears will not sign receiver Alshon Jeffery to a franchise tag:

Jeffery played under the franchise tag in 2016, when he earned roughly $14.6 million. 

The Bears could still re-sign Jeffery to a longer deal in free agency, but the market on the 27-year-old receiver may climb out of their desired range.

The $17 million franchise tag was an awful lot of salary cap to spend on a guy who has missed 11 games over the last two seasons to injury and a PED suspension that stretched to four games in 2016.

When he was on the field last year, Jeffery turned in his worst stat line since his rookie season, catching only 52 balls for 821 yards and 2 TDs.

Still, his departure would leave a gaping hole in the Bears receiving corps as Cameron Meredith and Kevin White would emerge as the leaders of the group.

Meredith went undrafted out of Illinois State, but he has impressed in his two pro seasons, leading the Bears in receptions (66), targets (96), yards (888) and TDs (4) in 2016.

White was the Bears' first-round pick in 2015 (7th overall) but has played in just four games due to leg issues and has only 19 catches for 187 yards and 0 TDs under his belt.

David Kaplan believes if Jeffery does depart Chicago, it sends a bigger message about the state of the Bears:

Fast Break Morning Update: Scott Darling leads Blackhawks to win over Blues

Fast Break Morning Update: Scott Darling leads Blackhawks to win over Blues

Here are the top Chicago sports stories from Sunday:

Scott Darling shines in fill-in duty as Blackhawks break late tie to best rival Blues

White Sox pitchers headed for World Baseball Classic look sharp in win over Rockies

What if… Cubs GM Jed Hoyer’s takeaways from epic World Series Game 7

Quick hits: Blackhawks start strong in win over Blues

Illini keep NCAA tournament hopes afloat with dominant win over Nebraska

White Sox: Happy with progress, Brett Lawrie tries to clear final hurdles

How Indians regrouped and reloaded after losing unforgettable Game 7 to Cubs

Jim Thome: Getting into baseball Hall of Fame would be indescribable

Kurt Busch steals a monster of a win in Daytona 500

Michigan State gets big win to boost tourney hopes, while Wisconsin loses for fourth time in five games