09/17/12 8:20 PM ET
Welington makes major strides behind the dish
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
"He's definitely made probably the biggest progress of anybody on the team right now," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of Castillo, who has started 34 games behind the plate. "The changes he's made in his defense and calling the game and the preparation [are impressive]. His whole attitude has changed into an everyday catcher's mindset.
"I think he's starting to have a lot more fun and understanding the progression. He's had to go through," Sveum said. "I think going into Spring Training, he'll feel like he's the everyday catcher, no matter what we do. He'll have that mentality that he'll catch 120 games next year."
Castillo, who has shared the job with Steve Clevenger this season, was batting .281 entering Monday's game, and has thrown out five of 32 basestealers.
Beliveau earns first win in bittersweet fashion
CHICAGO -- Cubs reliever Jeff Beliveau picked up his first Major League win on Sunday, but it was bittersweet.
Beliveau took over in the sixth inning after the Cubs had scored four runs in the fifth to close to within one run, 6-5, against the Pirates. There were two runners on and one out, and Beliveau served up Pedro Alvarez's second home run of the game, which gave the Pirates a 9-5 lead. Chicago rallied with five runs in the sixth and won, 13-9.
"I was kind of down after the game," Beliveau said on Monday. "I didn't do my job. I got the two guys out, and I walked [Clint Barmes]. I was a little bummed. I come into a close game and I have to get [Alvarez] out."
Beliveau didn't know he got the "W" until the game was over.
"[Alfonso Soriano] told me," Beliveau said. "He said, 'Hey, was that your first win?' I said, 'Oh, yeah, I guess I got the win.' Then I was frozen in the shower in beer. It made [the outing] a little easier to take."
His teammates gave Beliveau a celebratory beer shower. Beliveau can thank Anthony Rizzo, who hit his first Major League grand slam in the sixth for the go-ahead runs.
"I owe Rizzo dinner or something," Beliveau said.
Fans can book Convention rooms starting Wednesday
CHICAGO -- The 28th annual Cubs Convention will be held on Jan. 18-20 at a new downtown location, the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers.
Starting on Wednesday at 9 a.m. CT, Cubs fans can book rooms at the hotel, located at 301 E. North Water Street, by calling 800-233-4100 and asking for the Cubs Convention rate of $179 per night, plus tax. Guests who book a two-night stay will receive a limited-edition authenticated autographed photo of rookies Anthony Rizzo and Brett Jackson.
Hotel guests may purchase up to four convention passes for a reduced rate of $20 each. Individual convention passes for guests not staying at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers will be sold for $60 per pass at a later date.
The winter event has been held at the Chicago Hilton and Towers for the previous 27 years.
A percentage of the proceeds from the convention benefits Chicago Cubs Charities. To date, the convention has raised nearly $4 million.
• Bryan LaHair has gone from All-Star to an extra player on the Cubs bench.
LaHair, who was the starting first baseman until Anthony Rizzo arrived, totaled 231 at-bats in 74 games before the All-Star break and was voted to the National League All-Star team by his peers. But in the second half, he's played in 41 games and has only 90 at-bats. He batted .286 with 14 home runs before the break, and was hitting .189 with one home run since, entering Monday's game.
"For his sake, I think he needs to play winter ball again and get the at-bats he's missed out on and be ready for Spring Training like he was this year," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of LaHair.
However, both Rizzo and right fielder David DeJesus are expected back in 2013. It'll be tough for LaHair to get at-bats.
"That goes unsaid," Sveum said.
• One player who has opened some eyes is Dave Sappelt, acquired from the Reds in the Sean Marshall deal. Sappelt could fill the role of right-handed bat off the bench, which Reed Johnson had this year until he was dealt to the Braves.
"There's a bat there that can play in the big leagues," Sveum said of Sappelt, who batted .266 in 133 games with Triple-A Iowa this year. "He's got the ability and the bat speed, and the bat ability to play in the big leagues."
Sappelt was batting .310 in 11 games since he was promoted Sept. 1, entering Monday's game.
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.