Starlin Castro’s mental lapses in the field need to stop, but the 23-year-old shortstop remains a central part of the Cubs future hopes, general manager Jed Hoyer said Monday.
“Some of [the criticism] comes with being the guy who might be the brightest light on the team, so there’s undue focus on his struggles,” Hoyer said. “He made a really bad play the other day [Saturday and was benched after it]. He’s had a few of those. He has to stop doing that and no one is forgiving that.
“But the way we look at it is he’s having a down year. There’s no reason in the world to think he can’t get back to playing the way he did as a 21 year old.
“We have to get to the bottom as a staff of why he hasn’t had as good a year. Focusing on him as a negative doesn’t help that.”
Manager Dale Sveum benched Castro immediately after the incident Saturday when he caught a fly ball in short left field but forgot to check the runner at third, who tagged up and scored.
Sveum had Castro in the lineup on Sunday, saying he had been “punished” already and that not playing wouldn’t help him improve.
Hoyer took the same stance Monday.
“This is a guy when he’s right is one of the more talented young players in the game,” he said of Castro. “He hasn’t shown that [this year], but there are plenty of examples of players who have had down years at this age that have gone on to great careers.
“That’s our focus–how to get this guy better. There’s no reason to focus on anything else.
“I don’t think anyone should make excuses for him. We should focus on how to get him better. He’s been a really good player in the big leagues. We know he can do it. It’s a matter of getting back to that point.”