6/11/2013 12:55 A.M. ET
Cubs taking patient approach with top prospects
By Carrie Muskat and Joey Nowak / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Yasiel Puig has sparked the Dodgers in his first week in the big leagues, batting .464 with four home runs in seven games. The Cuban outfielder totaled 229 Minor League at-bats before he was promoted. That quick leap to the big leagues doesn't happen often, and Cubs manager Dale Sveum said he didn't expect any of the Cubs' recent Draft picks or top prospects to make that kind of jump.
No. 1 prospect Javier Baez, Albert Almora (No. 2) and Jorge Soler (No. 3) are all playing in Class A ball, and Baez and Soler are with High Class A Daytona.
"I don't see any of them [making their debuts this year]," Sveum said Monday. "That's not what we're trying to do. They're here to develop and stay at their level and produce. We're still not getting huge production, so they have to develop before they get here. You just don't call people up because they're supposed to be prospects. There's still a way they have to produce and put numbers up and be consistent."
After Kris Bryant was selected No. 2 overall in the first round by the Cubs in the First-Year Player Draft, the third baseman said he was ready now for the big leagues. Sveum said Puig, 22, has an edge because of the top caliber of players in Cuba.
The Cubs hope that someday their top prospects can provide the same kind of impact Puig has.
"Those are the guys we're counting on and who the organization needs to come through when you do call them up," Sveum said. "Those are our best prospects, whether it's Baez or Soler or Almora. We're still talking about a couple years away. We're not talking about next year or any time this year. Those are the guys you have to have hit, otherwise, you're back to the drawing board."
Sveum has watched video of Soler, 21, who was batting .278 for Daytona with eight home runs, 12 doubles and 34 RBIs.
"The good thing I like about Soler is he's having quality at-bats for a guy who obviously is pretty young baseball-wise," Sveum said. "He's having a lot of quality at-bats and seeing pitches. Like I said in Spring Training, the poise he has on the field, for a guy who hasn't been out there much, is far and above what you expect at 20 years old. He's still learning."
Top prospect Baez blasts four homers for Daytona
CHICAGO -- Javier Baez had a historic night on Monday.
Baez, the Cubs' No. 1 Draft pick in 2011 and No. 1 prospect, hit four home runs and drove in seven runs in Class A Daytona's 9-6 victory over Fort Myers, and is the second player in the 94-year history of the Florida State League to hit four homers in a game.
Baez belted a two-run homer with one out in the first off Matt Tomshaw, a leadoff shot in the third off Tomshaw, a three-run blast in the fifth off Adrian Salcedo, and a solo shot with two outs in the seventh off Jose Gonzalez. He now has 13 home runs for the season and 44 RBIs.
"It's a pretty special night for anybody at any level to hit four home runs," said Cubs manager Dale Sveum, who heard about Baez's exploits after Monday's loss to the Reds. "That's what we're hoping for when he gets developed and ready to go here is those kind of days and that kind of power that changes games around with one swing of the bat."
The only other player to hit four home runs in a Florida State League game was another Cubs prospect, Ryan Harvey, who did so July 28, 2006, also for Daytona.
The last Cubs Minor Leaguer to belt four homers in a game was Micah Hoffpauir, who hit four solo shots Aug. 9, 2008, for Triple-A Iowa.
Baez is well ahead of last year's pace when he hit 16 home runs -- 12 with Class A Peoria and four more with Daytona.
Reds and Cubs put Cueto-Garza incident in past
CHICAGO -- Both the Cubs and Reds would like to put any bad blood to rest as they start a four-game series this week at Wrigley Field.
The last time the teams met -- May 26 in Cincinnati -- Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto threw a pitch over David DeJesus' head with a four-run lead in the sixth inning. Cueto received a warning from home-plate umpire Bob Davidson. Cubs pitcher Matt Garza took exception to the play, and the Cubs went on to win.
"Cueto should learn, you don't go after guys' heads," Garza said after the incident. "Don't wake a sleeping dog. I think that's kind of immature on his part and totally uncalled for. He's lucky that retaliation isn't in our vocabulary."
Both teams' managers downplayed the incident on Monday. Asked if he expected any repercussions, Cubs manager Dale Sveum said no.
"There's nothing to that whole situation," Sveum said.
Garza will pitch in the second game of the series on Tuesday. Cueto, on the disabled list, will not face the Cubs this time around.
Reds manager Dusty Baker, who said the following day that Garza should address the situation personally with Cueto and that the two could settle it with a fight, said the incident is "over."
"I think Johnny got fined for it," Baker said. "So, all we can do is play ball. And whoever wants to do something, it's their prerogative if they want to. … I don't even know Garza. Never spoke to him in my life."
Sveum allowing Castro to play through struggles
CHICAGO -- On Saturday, Dale Sveum said he was considering giving struggling shortstop Starlin Castro a day off, but the Cubs manager has yet to do so.
"I just can't pull the trigger on it," Sveum said prior to Monday's 6-2 loss to the Reds.
Castro went 1-for-4 with an RBI double in the ninth on Monday, snapping an 0-for-15 streak and most likely keeping himself in the lineup another day.
"I get going, try to be aggressive with every pitch and let's see what happens," Castro said. "I'm trying to hit the ball hard every time."
Castro did just that in the fourth when he lined out to Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips.
"That helped me a lot, because I knew I hit the ball hard," Castro said. "I try to hit the ball hard and [have] good at-bats."
"Hopefully, that kind of day is something that turns things around," Sveum said after the game.
The decision on whether to sit Castro has nothing to do with the shortstop's consecutive games played streak of 257, which is longest in the National League.
"If I do it, somebody's not going to talk me out of it because of a streak involved," Sveum said. "I don't think we're talking a Cal Ripken streak."
Castro is batting .243 and only .203 against left-handers. He talked to Hall of Famer Billy Williams, who told him not to worry about anything, and just see the ball and hit it.
Sveum did drop Castro from second to seventh in the batting order last Tuesday, and so far the shortstop is 2-for-22 in six games there.
"I know I'm pretty close to getting out of this," Castro said. "Sometimes I think too much, but I just put in my mind to be strong to not think about that and just play baseball."
Would a day off help? "No," Castro said. Still, he's never experienced this long of a skid.
"It's never happened to me," Castro said of his struggles. "I know I'll be all right."
"He's still a fixture in our lineup," Sveum said of Castro, who began this season with a career .297 average. "It's not that other guys aren't capable of [playing shortstop], but he's still a threat in our lineup. At this point right now, I can't seem to get myself to have enough reasons to do it other than the guy is in a slump. We're still out here trying to win games."
Castro took early batting practice on Monday, working on the field with hitting coach James Rowson. Has Sveum seen progress?
"I don't see any of the things that I'd like to see changed being changed," Sveum said. "The timing and mechanics just aren't changing enough to center a baseball consistently."
• Cubs reliever Shawn Camp, on the disabled list with a sprained right big toe, will start a rehab assignment Tuesday with Class A Kane County.
Camp was scheduled to throw one inning, and if all goes well, he will pitch again on Friday and be evaluated after that. The right-hander has been sidelined since May 22.
• Reliever Kyuji Fujikawa was scheduled to undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on Tuesday. Noted orthopedic specialist Dr. James Andrews was scheduled to perform the procedure in Birmingham, Ala.
• The Cubs observed a moment of silence before Monday's game for Pete Vonachen, a Peoria, Ill., businessman most responsible for keeping Minor League baseball in the city. Vonachen, who was close friends with Cubs broadcaster Harry Caray, died Monday. He was 87.
"The Chicago Cubs are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Harold Albert "Pete" Vonachen, who was a visionary and legend in baseball and the Peoria business and civic community," Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said in a statement. "Pete was a world-class baseball executive and several Major League players and executives have Pete to thank for his care and leadership of the Peoria Chiefs franchise. His sense of humor and love for people and life will be sorely missed."
The Peoria Chiefs were a Cubs' Minor League affiliate from 1985-95 and again from 2005-12. Among the Cubs who played there were Greg Maddux, Mark Grace, Rafael Palmeiro, Joe Girardi.
• Double-A Tennessee right-hander Kyle Hendricks was named Southern League Pitcher of the Week for June 3-9. Hendricks, 23, was 1-0 with a 0.69 ERA in two starts, giving up 11 hits and striking out 13 over 13 innings. His starts included a seven-inning complete-game shutout against Jackson on June 3.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.