ST. LOUIS -- Aramis Ramirez said he doesn't believe the Cubs will ever be in a full-blown "rebuilding" mode because of their status as a big-market team.
"You can't rebuild with a big market," Ramirez said Friday. "When you get 40,000 [people] every day in the stands, you can't try to rebuild. You have to put a winning product on the field. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. You can't get rid of everybody and try to rebuild in a market like this."
Yet the Cubs will do retooling -- if that's a better word -- after this season.
"You always need some kind of rebuilding when you're in fifth place," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said Friday. "But you don't look at it like we're not going to compete. When somebody says, 'Blow the place up and start over and do it right,' OK, does that mean we should get rid of the people who are young?"
Hendry said the team needs only to add a few pieces, continue the development of young players like Tyler Colvin, James Russell and Starlin Castro, and next year should be different.
"Why couldn't we be right back in it?" Hendry said.
The Cubs GM said chairman Tom Ricketts and his family have made a commitment to develop players in the system, investing more in scouting and the First-Year Player Draft.
"I've seen the long-term plan for player development and scouting and facilities," Hendry said, "and certainly I think Tom's well aware of the quality job [scouting director Tim] Wilken and [player development director] Oneri Fleita do in the two main departments. You're nothing down the road if your scouting and development people aren't good.
"We're having a bad year. There's no way around it, no excuses for it."
And plenty of reason for optimism next year.
Starlin takes over leadoff spot for Cubs
ST. LOUIS -- With Kosuke Fukudome gone after being traded to the Indians, Starlin Castro took over the leadoff spot for the Cubs on Friday.
Cubs manager Mike Quade had Castro and Darwin Barney batting 1-2 to open the series against the Cardinals.
"We'll start with those two kids, and it will be an evolving thing -- and maybe not," Quade said.
It's not a new role for Castro, who has a .369 average in 19 games as the leadoff man.
Fukudome had the best on-base percentage on the team, and Castro and Barney aren't the most patient hitters.
"They may not walk as much, but I still see Barney work counts, and there's going to be a day when he's 3-2 and 2-2 [in the count] and takes a couple pitches and walks," Quade said of the second baseman. "He does work the count and he also allows me to play some hit-and-run and do things at the top of the order. [Leading off] will give 'Cassie' some freedom to run."
Cubs to keep Colvin in the outfield for now
ST. LOUIS -- Tyler Colvin most likely won't be playing first base, at least not now, Cubs manager Mike Quade said.
Colvin was recalled from Triple-A Iowa to take Kosuke Fukudome's spot on the roster and in right field, starting Friday against the Cardinals.
"We'll put him in the eight-hole and ask him to be patient with the pitcher behind him, and see if that helps a little bit," Quade said.
Colvin began the season with the big league team but was optioned to the Minor Leagues in mid-May after hitting .191. In 50 games with Iowa, he hit .256 with seven homers, 12 doubles, six triples and 32 RBIs.
"He had quite a few strikeouts in Triple-A, and he's going to strike out some and that's OK," Quade said. "It ain't easy to hit, but it's real tough when you're not making guys throw strikes.
"It'll be in Tyler's best interest to be as disciplined as he can be and as patient as he can be," said Quade, hoping Colvin can learn to improve his pitch recognition as well as determine which pitches he can do damage with.
Colvin played first base in Spring Training but stuck to the outfield with Iowa. Is the infield experiment over?
"Not necessarily," Quade said. "When we sent him out [to Iowa], we were concerned with the bat and let him play the outfield and let him work on his bat.
"It's over for the moment," he said. "I'd like him to relax and play the outfield now and concentrate on swinging the bat."
Cashner to throw off mound on Saturday
ST. LOUIS -- Cubs pitcher Andrew Cashner, on the disabled list with a strained right rotator cuff, will throw off the mound on Saturday in Mesa, Ariz., and is expected to join the team in Pittsburgh this week.
Cashner, who went on the DL after his first start of the season April 5, has been rehabbing at the Cubs' facility in Arizona most of the season. He joined the team before the All-Star break.
Cashner, the Cubs' No. 1 pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, pitched in 53 games last season in relief, but he won a spot in the rotation this spring.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.