05/07/11 6:46 PM ET
Former Cub Wellemeyer announces retirement
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
Wellemeyer, 32, was pitching for Triple-A Iowa and appeared in a game on Thursday. He signed a Minor League deal with the team in January.
He was slowed this spring by a right hip injury and was added to Iowa's roster on Thursday. He started that day, giving up four runs on eight hits and two walks over 3 2/3 innings, striking out two.
This was the right-hander's second stint with the Cubs. He was originally drafted by the team in the fourth round in 2000 and spent parts of three seasons with Iowa from 2003-05.
Wellemeyer also pitched for the Marlins (2006), Royals (2006-07), Cardinals (2007-09), and Giants (2010). He finished his career with a 32-34 record and 4.83 ERA in 208 games (75 starts) with 459 strikeouts in 614 2/3 innings.
Castro not in lineup on anniversary of debut
CHICAGO -- One year ago Saturday, Starlin Castro got the news he was going to the big leagues. His Double-A Tennessee manager at that time didn't want to tell him the night before because the Cubs were afraid he wouldn't sleep from excitement.
So Castro got an early wake-up call on May 7, 2010, packed quickly and joined the Cubs in Cincinnati, where he hit a three-run homer in his first at-bat. He followed that with a three-run triple to set a Major League record for most RBIs in a debut.
"It was good because I hit a home run my first at-bat and had six RBIs the first day," Castro said Saturday. "I felt happy that day. It was amazing."
On the one-year anniversary, Castro was not in the lineup, getting what manager Mike Quade called a mental break.
"I probably lean toward thinking [a day off] isn't as important for [young players] but because of the magnitude of this level and that position, and he has struggled against [Bronson] Arroyo. If you're going to do it, now seemed the best time," Quade said.
While Quade wasn't aware of the significance of May 7 in Castro's personal history, he does recall the impact Castro made. The shortstop, the youngest player in the Major Leagues now at 21, was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week. He's come a long way.
"You hear good things, you hear about talent," Quade said, recalling Castro's debut one year ago. "A kid like that, you believe he'll be real good but you don't know when.
"This game has been played for a lot of years and for you to step in and put six RBIs on the board and be the first ever, that's something," he said. "He's kept his head about him and has been a pretty even-keel kid."
The shortstop, who has been moved between the Nos. 1 and 3 spots in the lineup, entered the day 2-for-21 in his last five games.
"It's not a day off for me because I want to play," Castro said. "I'll be on the bench, maybe play in the sixth or seventh [inning]."
Does he feel OK at the plate?
"I feel very good," Castro said. "I feel the same. The pitching -- they're pitching me different now. They don't throw too many strikes. I'm staying with my approach and not swinging at bad pitches."
Quade has noticed a difference.
"The step-by-step process of young players who haven't quite established themselves yet, I think he's seeing less strikes now," Quade said. "They're challenging him to be more disciplined at the plate."
In his first calendar year of big league play, Castro has batted .302 with 37 doubles, seven triples, four homers and 53 RBIs in 156 games. His .302 average is tied for fifth among all middle infielders in that stretch and his 181 hits are tied for sixth.
Castro has batted .424 in 13 games as the leadoff man and .158 in nine games in the No. 3 hole, but Quade said switching to the third spot isn't the reason for Castro's struggles.
"His swing is the same," Quade said. "His struggle has occurred in several spots in the lineup. I don't see him putting any extra pressure on himself. He's just a young kid who loves to swing a bat. They're probably going to do everything they can to get him to swing out of the zone, as long as he'll continue to do that."
On Sunday, Castro will debut a pink Mother's Day themed energy bracelet as part of a new endorsement deal. And he'll be back in the lineup.
"There's plenty of work for him to do," Quade said.
Quade trying to get Colvin enough at-bats
CHICAGO -- Last year, it was difficult for Cubs manager Lou Piniella to get Tyler Colvin enough at-bats. Mike Quade is having the same problem this year.
"It's the toughest part of my day," Quade said of Colvin, who was hitless in four at-bats on Saturday.
"We have this young kid, who did a nice job for us last year, [and I want] to get him involved," Quade said of Colvin, who hit .254 last year in his first full season. "He's got guys in front of him who are playing like a son of a gun. It's a tough part of my day to figure out how I'm going to get these guys involved, can I get them involved and try to win games at the same time, [while thinking about] how important they'll be to you in July. This is a good opportunity for him."
Colvin's start on Saturday was his first since April 28 when the Cubs played in Arizona. Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome and Marlon Byrd all have played well, leaving Colvin the odd man out. The left-handed-hitting outfielder entered Saturday 7-for-58 this season with two home runs and seven RBIs.
Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija was taking batting practice with the starting pitchers on Saturday. He's been doing so for a few days. Manager Mike Quade wanted Samardzija to take part just in case he is asked to hit in one of his relief outings.
"The way we've been using him, it's not out of the question," Quade said.
Samardzija and James Russell, who has been filling in as the fifth starter, have been taking turns in the hitting cage.
The Triple-A Iowa Cubs will give away a Quade bobblehead at Principal Park in Des Moines on June 7. Quade never liked having to wear a batting helmet when he was a third-base coach, so the bobblehead features a smiling Quade holding his helmet high. The pose does reveal Quade's bald head.
Iowa Cubs majority owner Michael Gartner told the Des Moines Register: "We tried to get 'Great Clips' to sponsor the bobblehead. They politely declined."
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.