03/16/12 7:20 PM ET
Castillo looking to stick with Cubs
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
"Defensively, I was good," Castillo said Friday. "But not my hitting."
During a meeting in the Dominican Republic with the entire team present, the hitting coach asked Castillo about his future as a shortstop.
"In front of everyone, he said, 'What do you think about pitching?' and I said, 'Yes,'" Castillo said.
He still likes to play shortstop but Castillo switched to pitching in 2010. His first game on the mound was an intrasquad game.
"I was kind of nervous," Castillo said. "It was my first time. I did three, four sides in the bullpen before a game. Now, I enjoy pitching."
In 2010, he was a combined 3-2 in 17 games with a 2.35 ERA at three levels in the Minors, and last season, he was 4-2 with a 2.54 ERA in 21 games at Class A Lakewood.
In December, the Cubs selected Castillo in the Rule 5 Draft. He's now a candidate for their bullpen, and the 22-year-old has impressed manager Dale Sveum.
"His makeup was OK, his stuff was obviously good enough to give it a shot and give it a look," Sveum said. "He's doing well, but I think his preparation and his makeup and the way he's handled himself on the mound is a little more important for a Rule 5 kid than just their stuff alone.
"He's been able to throw strikes," Sveum said. "His poise on the mound and the way he handles PFPs [pitchers' fielding practice] and athleticism and competitiveness has been far and above a lot of other Rule 5 guys I've been around over the years."
The Cubs paid the Phillies $50,000 for taking Castillo in the Rule 5 Draft and must keep him on the 25-man roster this season. He has to be active for a minimum of 90 days. If he does not remain active, Castillo will be offered back to the Phillies for $25,000.
Castillo understands the Rule 5 rules.
"Everywhere I go, I try to do my best," he said. "That's what I"m doing now. I hope to make the team. That's my goal."
It would be a huge leap from Class A Lakewood to the big leagues.
"It's kind of different, but it's the same -- it's baseball," Castillo said.
Stewart, DeWitt, Barney nursing minor aches
MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs third baseman Ian Stewart was able to take grounders Friday but was listed as day to day because of a sore right quad.
"It just came up in the last few days and just trying to catch it before it gets to be a nuisance for a couple months," Stewart said Friday.
X-rays were negative on Blake DeWitt's right hand. He was hit by a pitch in the Cubs' game against the Rockies on Thursday. His status also was day to day.
Darwin Barney, who has tightness on his left side, was feeling better Friday and didn't have any discomfort while coughing or laughing, Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.
The list of injured players has been minimal.
"We've been pretty lucky this spring so far," Sveum said.
Cubs' coaches nipping mistakes in the bud
MESA, Ariz. -- Dale Sveum and his coaching staff have been correcting mistakes as soon as they can and so far, the Cubs manager hasn't had to invoke the 24-hour cooling-off period.
Sveum has placed an emphasis this spring on defense, fundamentals, preparation and attention to detail.
"We've addressed being held accountable on the defensive end of everything," Sveum said Friday. "When something happens on the field, it's taken care of right when they get off the field. You don't have time for the mistakes or mental mistakes to happen again. Some people like to say, 'Well, I'll take care of it after the game.' What if there are six innings left and it happens again? If something goes awry on the field, you have to address it right then and hold people accountable for what goes on on the field."
He's done that a few times this spring, correcting players on positioning and fielding, but says so far, nothing major has happened.
"We've been great at running balls out," he said. "I haven't had to deal with that so all that's been good. Just some minor things. There are some things where you have to give the 24-hour rule and cool down before you might say something or do something stupid. For the most part, you try to take care of these other things when they come right off the field."
Has anything prompted that one-day waiting period?
"No, there hasn't," he said. "I know there will be. So far, not yet. Obviously, things haven't gone well the last couple days on the pitching end of things, but those are more human things that aren't going too well for the guy on the mound."
Entering Friday, the Cubs had been outscored 22-4 in the last two games against the Brewers and D-backs. That might necessitate a cooling-off period, too.
The Cubs claimed right-handed pitcher Frankie De La Cruz from the Brewers on Friday and added him to the 40-man roster.
In three games with the Brewers this spring, De La Cruz has given up eight runs on seven hits and three walks over 3 1/3 innings.
The Brewers had hoped De La Cruz would clear waivers and start at Triple-A Nashville. Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio knows the right-hander well.
David DeJesus beat Casey Coleman to win the Cubs' bunting tournament Friday. DeJesus beat Welington Castillo to win the position players' bracket, while Coleman topped Paul Maholm to take the pitchers' bracket. The two had five rounds of four bunts each.
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.