September 28, 2011; San Diego, CA, USA; Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro (13) singles during the eighth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

Starlin Castro Ready To Focus On Baseball

Starlin Castro has had an eventful off-season. Unlike most of his Cubs’ teammates, Castro’s name has not been involved in any trade rumors and nor will he be a victim of the regime change. The only time Castro’s name came up in any rumor, was when the Red Sox front office officials were foolish enough to think that Castro would be the compensation player being sent to Boston in exchange for the Red Sox allowing Theo Epstein to become the Cubs’ president of baseball operations. Such a scenario was never going to happen, no matter how delusional the thinking was from Red Sox team president Larry Lucchino.

With the likes of Carlos Zambrano and Aramis Ramirez no longer a part of the organization, the Cubs are ready for Castro to take the stage as the team’s poster boy. In addition to how he conducts himself on the field, being the team’s poster boy also will involve Castro conduct himself in a professional matter off the field. This is where one would begin to question Castro. Whether is being a result of being closer friends with Alfonso Soriano or not, some have criticized whether baseball is the top priority for Castro.

While this post is not intended to be a question of character for Castro, one would feel obliged to mention the events that transpired this off-season when talking about Castro. The event is the result of what a Chicago woman claims happened in Castro’s apartment during a late September Weekend. The woman claims that Castro sexually assaulted her after she went home with the Cubs’ shortstop after the two met that night. Castro spoke with the Chicago Police in January after arriving in Chicago to attend the Cubs’ convention. Police have yet to file any charges in the case.

Castro, along with Soriano and prospect Junior Lake, reported to camp on Thursday. After months of silence from the Cubs’ shortstop, Castro was ready to speak with the media. Castro spoke with reporters on Friday in the wake of the Cubs’ first full-squad practice, and the young shortstop is ready to focus on baseball.

“I cooperated with the police and talking about that,” he said. “I don’t have (anything) to say about that. I’m ready to play baseball and am practicing very hard.”

Asked what lessons he learned, Castro replied: “That you’ve got to be careful because there are a lot of bad people in the world.”

Not to trust everyone?
“Yeah, something, like that,” he said. Chicago Tribune

For obvious legal reasons, it is no surprise that Castro did not go into detail about the accusations that are being held against him. Even in light of this concern, President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein, General Manager Jed Hoyer, and the entire Cubs’ organization are standing behind their star shortstop. It remains to be seen what will come of these accusation but for now, Castro is in camp and ready to take that next step towards becoming one of the game’s elite players.

I get the feeling that Castro will be one of the greatest beneficiaries of new Cubs’ manager Dale Sveum. For whatever reason, former manager Mike Quade was more willing to publicly criticize young players like Castro and Darwin Barney rather than the aging veterans of the team. While Sveum is much more aggressive than Quade ever will be, the new Cubs’ manager is ready to work with Castro in order to improve his fielding skills. Quade wanted to hold players accountable, but it seemed, that Castro was one of the few players that Quade ever made accountable for his performance on the field. For that reason, it is possible that Castro may blocked out Quade during the latter months of the season and that may be what led to some questioning the 21 year old’s mental approach. Nonetheless, Quade is gone and Sveum is here, and that may be one of the contributing factors to why Castro will have a new-found focus on baseball in 2012.

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Tags: Alfonso Soriano Chicago Cubs Dale Sveum Jed Hoyer Mike Quade Starlin Castro Theo Epstein

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