Welington Castillo and Steve Clevenger continue to audition to be the full-time catcher next season. Although manager Dale Sveum said both have made great strides, the learning curve remains steep for reasons that extend well beyond the boxscore.
“They’ve been introduced to something they have never been introduced to before,” Sveum said. “They are trying to survive in the big leagues while learning how to call games and [execute] game plans. The batting system and the videos are something that’s harped on and to be able to apply that to a game when you’re trying to survive your first year in the big leagues hitting, throwing, blocking, isn’t the easiest thing to do. They’ve both grown by leaps and bounds since the beginning of the year as far as sticking to game plans and things like that.”
The Cubs young pitching staff has limitations, which complicates what can otherwise be clear-cut strategic decisions. The game plan may call for fastballs up and in, for example, but that day’s pitcher may be only able to throw in the mid 80s.
“We don’t have the veterans who can do a lot of things according to a game plan, either,” Sveum said. “Lots of times you go into a game and the curveball is the perfect pitch but we don’t have any curveball guys. That becomes difficult. They have to learn how to adjust to that as well.”
Castillo started Friday. He is hitting .273 in 21 games this season while Clevenger is batting .224 in 55 games.
“Swinging the bats is part of it but that’s the last thing we’re evaluating right now,” Sveum said.