8/21/2014 11:07 A.M. ET
Castro to be placed on bereavement list
By Daniel Kramer / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Shortstop Starlin Castro will likely be placed on the bereavement list, team officials said on Wednesday, following the reported death of a relative and three friends in a car crash in the Dominican Republic.
The reason for Castro having to leave the team was first reported by 670 The Score.
Castro had been slated in his customary cleanup spot for Wednesday's game against the Giants, an 8-3 loss, but was scratched before the first pitch.
"It's a family tragedy," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said Wednesday, "so we'll just take it one day at a time."
Players on the bereavement list are granted a minimum of three days and a maximum of seven away from the club.
The team has yet to make a roster adjustment to account for Castro's absence.
Renteria said that Javier Baez, who played the bulk of his games in the Minors at shortstop, would take Castro's post until he returned, as he did on Wednesday. Baez moved from second base, where he's played since being called up on Aug. 5. Utility infielder Chris Valaika took over at second.
Castro is the team's iron man, having missed just one start in 125 games before Wednesday. He has a slash line of .284/.333/.429, with 13 homers and 64 RBIs, and returned to the All-Star Game this year.
Renteria plans to give Szczur playing time
CHICAGO -- Manager Rick Renteria said on Tuesday that recent callup Matt Szczur is in the thick of a bench that has four capable outfielders but that the rookie will see his time.
"He did a really nice job in Triple-A, and he's actually been an individual we see as being able to try to platoon -- see if that role kind of fits him," Renteria said.
Szczur and Justin Ruggiano are the only right-handed hitters among the five outfielders on the roster. Ryan Sweeney and Chris Coghlan bat left-handed, and Arismendy Alcantara can hit from both sides. Coghlan and Alcantara are everyday starters.
Renteria said that late-game situations would likely be the best scenarios in which he'd use Szczur, who pinch-hit during the eighth inning of the Cubs' 8-3 loss on Wednesday. He struck out and remained in left field for the ninth.
"Obviously, the skill set that he brings in terms of speed is really big," Renteria said. "Maybe it helps generate a run, tack on a run, even a go-ahead run, tying run, whatever the case might be should the need arise."
Szczur is one of seven Cubs to have made his debut this season -- six since June 28. Renteria said that the few tenured veterans, including Ruggiano and Sweeney, have been receptive to the changes in a clubhouse that is taking a youthful direction.
"I think those guys, as the season progresses, understand when young guys come up that they're going to have to get some opportunities to play," Renteria said. "I think I've been very fortunate that the guys that are here are pretty understanding of the development and the movement that the organization is going in."
Szczur was recalled from Iowa on Sunday, and played in the final two games against the Mets in New York. He went 0-for-4 over the two games, starting in left field while Coghlan was sidelined with a sore toe.
Daniel Kramer is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.