Cubs

Cubs dont expect Castro to be a distraction

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Cubs dont expect Castro to be a distraction

MESA, Ariz. The Cubs dont believe a Starlin Castro Watch will dominate the daily headlines from spring training. They say their 21-year-old All-Star shortstop is supposed to report to camp on time next week.

But its something that hangs over the franchise. Castro, who lives in the Dominican Republic during the offseason, met with Chicago police last month while in town for the Cubs Convention. There were questions about an alleged sexual assault that happened almost five months ago.

Castro was not charged with a crime. His attorneys have vehemently denied the allegations. The Cubs have expressed their support, both publicly and in private.

I know theres been full cooperation from every end, Theo Epstein said Saturday. I expect Starlin in camp. Hes getting ready for the season and we dont expect it to be a distraction.

The incident occurred right after the season ended last September. The Cubs president of baseball operations described Castros situation as status quo, though he didnt want to interpret what that means exactly.

Its too sensitive an issue I dont want to speculate, Epstein said. Its really not our investigation. Obviously, what we said at the convention stands. Theres a lot of concern about it and our players have a responsibility to conduct themselves the right way off the field as well as on the field. But as far as I know, there havent been a lot of developments about this story.

At some point, Epstein expects the organization will receive some sort of update from the police. Until then, the Cubs are planning to educate their minor- and major-league players on how to handle fame and the spotlight.

Representatives from the Northeastern University Center for Sport in Society will come in to run several seminars this spring.

(Its) giving them the right tools to deal with difficult situations, Epstein said. Sometimes we take for granted that these young kids because theyre great at what they do on the field know how to handle all the tough circumstances that they find off the field. Its our responsibility as an organization.

We coach them on the field and we expect them to just make great decisions off the field. We need to give them great coaching off the field (to) help make the right decisions.

The Cubs Way means high standards on the field and off the field. (Theres) got to be accountability in wearing this uniform.

A series to forget: Facts and figures from Cubs' rough weekend in Cincinnati

A series to forget: Facts and figures from Cubs' rough weekend in Cincinnati

The Cubs and their fans may want to invent and use one of those Men In Black neuralyzers because the four-game series in Cincinnati was one to forget.

The Reds finished off a four-game sweep of the Cubs on Sunday with an 8-6 win. The way the Reds won the finale will be especially painful for the Cubs considering they led 6-1 after six innings. Mike Montgomery appeared to tire in the seventh inning and Pedro Strop got rocked out of the bullpen to lead to a seven-run seventh for the hosts.

The Reds have now won seven in a row and 10 of 12, but still sit 13 games under .500. Bizarrely, the Reds also swept the Dodgers, the Cubs’ next opponent, in a four-game series in May. Duane Underwood will start for the Cubs Monday against the Dodgers and make his major league debut.

Here are some other wild facts and figures from the series:

  • The last time the Reds swept the Cubs in a four-game series was back in 1983. That was the first week of the season and three weeks before the infamous Lee Elia rant.
  • One positive for the Cubs from the game was Montgomery’s start. Through six innings he allowed one run on three hits and two walks. However, he gave up a single, a double and a single in the seventh before Strop relieved him. Montgomery had gone six innings and allowed one run in each of his last four outings.
  • Strop was definitely a negative. On his first pitch, Strop gave up a home run to pinch-hitter Jesse Winker, the second home run for a Reds pinch-hitter in the game. Then Strop allowed a single, a walk, a single and a double before getting an out. Strop’s final line: 2/3 inning pitched, four runs, one strikeout, three walks, four hits.
  • The Cubs led in three of the four games this series, including two leads after five innings.
  • The Cubs were 5-for-23 (.217) with runners in scoring position in the series. On the season the Cubs are hitting .233 with RISP, which is 22nd in the majors and fourth-worst in the National League (but ahead of the division-rival Brewers and Cardinals).
  • The Reds outscored the Cubs 31-13 and scored at least six runs in every game. The Reds are now 6-3 against the Cubs this year after going a combined 17-40 against the Cubs from 2015-2017.

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 32nd homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 32nd homer in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

Sosa victimized the Tigers pitching staff again on the next night, taking Brian Moehler deep in the 7th inning for a 400-foot solo blast.

The homer tied the game at 3, but the Cubs blew the lead in the bottom of the 7th when the Terrys (Adams and Mulholland) gave up 3 runs. The Cubs wound up losing 6-4.

The Cubs were putting together a really nice season in 1998 that ended with a trip to October. They entered the series with the Tigers with a 42-34 record, yet lost both games to a Detroit team that entered the series with a 28-45 record. The Tigers finished the season 65-94; the Cubs finished 90-73.

Fun fact: Luis Gonzalez was the Tigers left fielder and No. 5 hitter for both games of the series. He spent part of the 1995 season and all of '96 on Chicago's North Side. 1998 was his only year in Detroit before he moved on to Arizona, where he hit 57 homers in 2001 and helped the Diamondbacks to a World Series championship with that famous broken-bat single in Game 7.

Fun fact  No. 2: Remember Pedro Valdes? He only had a cup of coffee with the Cubs (9 games in 1996 and 14 in '98), but started in left field on June 25, 1998. He walked and went 0-for-1 before being removed from the game for a pinch-hitter (Jose Hernandez).