Starlin calls mental gaffe 'embarrassing'

Cubs shortstop's miscue costs club pair of runs in loss

Starlin calls mental gaffe 'embarrassing'

MINNEAPOLIS -- As soon as it happened, Starlin Castro knew he made a mistake.

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In the Cubs' 7-2 loss to the Twins on Friday night, Minnesota loaded the bases with none out in the first when Trevor Plouffe hit a potential double-play grounder to the Cubs shortstop. Castro couldn't pick it up for an error, allowing a run to score, but he compounded the error by ignoring Eddie Rosario, who was on second and eventually scored on Castro's mental gaffe.

"That's bad, that's really bad," Castro said. "That's the kind of mistake that can't happen. It's really embarrassing. I apologized to my teammates. That's not supposed to happen. I don't have any excuse. That kind of thing can't happen again.

"The mistake is on me," he added. "Sometimes when those mistakes happen, we lose. ... It's my fault. That makes me feel really bad. That's not me. That's not supposed to happen. None. Not even one time. None. Never."

Castro apologized to Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks, who gave the shortstop a pep talk in the dugout.

"I went right to him and said, 'Hey, there will be plenty more coming at you -- it's fine,'" said Hendricks, who took the loss, giving up a career-high 11 hits over five-plus innings.

Twins manager Paul Molitor said the club didn't see what happened.

"[Castro] kind of let his guard down a little bit," Molitor said. "[Rosario] rounded third and had a hold sign, obviously, but checked to see what was going on and when he saw the guy drop his head, he took off. I like those plays and they can be a little bit of a momentum-shifter."

This is Castro's sixth season and he's a three-time All-Star, but he is young. Cubs manager Joe Maddon constantly reminds anyone who will listen about that. Can Maddon and his staff get the 25-year-old to maintain his focus?

"Yep, yep, you can," Maddon said. "I'm a big believer in that. He's still relatively young -- he is young, not even relatively. We have to keep working on that. That's why you have coaches and managers. If these guys were perfect, they wouldn't need us. I really like the kid a lot and I know nobody feels worse than he does right now. He made a mental mistake, but beyond that he had a nice night."

Castro was having a better month defensively than he did in May, when he was charged with eight errors.

"Those kind of things [tick] me off," Castro said. "[If I go] 5-for-5, it doesn't mean anything for me because I don't want to make a mistake."

Said Hendricks: "Everybody makes mistakes. I'm up there making mistakes all the time. There's no way I'm going to criticize guys ever. They had more plays. Starlin made a great play in the hole later in the game."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.