Welington Castillo to Miss Remainder of the Season and Other Cubs News

Prior to Friday’s game, the Cubs announced that Welington Castillo would miss the remainder of the season with a partial meniscus tear in his right knee. Castillo will have his knee scoped and the rehab time is around four to six weeks. Castillo will be ready to go in February when pitchers and catchers report to the Cubs’ new facility in Mesa.

Theo Epstein addressed the situation and said that Castillo has become part of the core of the Chicago Cubs. Castillo made steady improvement in the field and at the plate this season. Castillo hit four of his eight home runs during the recently completed 11-game road trip and finished his first full season at the Major League level with a .271/.347/.395 line that included 23 doubles, eight home runs, a .343 BABIP and a .741 OPS.

Javier Baez, the Iowa Infield and Kris Bryant

Jason McLeod met with the media on Friday and discussed several of the top prospects in the Cubs’ system. Javier Baez and Kyle Hendricks are in Chicago and will be recognized prior to Saturday’s game as the Cubs’ Minor League Players of the Year.

McLeod addressed the possible position change that is ahead for Javier Baez and said that second base would be an easier transition for Baez than third base if he has to move. McLeod explained that Baez is used to the action in the middle of the field, which he would still get as a second baseman.

As for next season, the plan is for Baez to begin the year as Iowa’s shortstop and McLeod sees the Iowa infield being Baez at short, Arismendy Alcantara at second and Christian Villanueva at third. McLeod added that Villanueva is the best defensive third baseman in the Cubs’ system.

Kris Bryant will play third base during the upcoming AFL season and will begin next season at Daytona or Double-A Tennessee. Bryant is also expected to receive playing time in the outfield in the Arizona Fall League.

Mike Olt will spend time at the Cubs’ facility in Mesa this off-season but will not play winter ball. Olt could be in line to compete for the Cubs’ third base job out of Spring Training next season. And it’s a job the front office could be planning on him taking. McLeod not mentioning Olt as part of Iowa’s infield mix and with Bryant possibly starting the season with the Smokies seems to point to Olt manning the hot corner for the big league team.

Epstein, Sveum and Girardi

According to a report from the Sun-Times, Theo Epstein admitted Friday that his non-comment about Dale Sveum’s future with the team “opened the door to speculation” about his status “that could be interpreted a number of different ways.” Multiple reports indicated that Sveum and his staff will still be evaluated and “it will be resolved quickly after the end of the season.”

Theo Epstein is scheduled to meet with Dale Sveum and the coaching staff in Chicago on Monday, September 30 following the final game of the year in St. Louis.

When asked about the possibility of the team pursuing Joe Girardi, Epstein dismissed the question and called it “borderline disrespectful.” Patrick Mooney labeled the Tribune report that the Cubs would pursue Girardi as speculative and that it is “making a leap to think that Epstein is simply hoping for a chance to hire Girardi.”

News and Notes

Darwin Barney said it is hard to blame anybody for the season the Cubs have had. Barney said that a lot of the players stand behind Dale Sveum and feel he is the “right fit for this team.”

Jason McLeod said that Kyle Hendricks is kinda like Scott Feldman but with a better fastball.

According to a report from Ken Davidoff, Theo Epstein made an informal suggestion on how the wild card round of the playoffs should be structured during the 2011 GM Meetings. Epstein suggested a Best-of-Three Series with a Doubleheader for games one and two. Epstein declined to comment on what suggested two years ago.

As was the case when Ryne Sandberg was in the running for the Cubs’ job prior to Jim Hendry hiring Mike Quade, Larry Bowa could be part of Sandberg’s staff in Philadelphia if the Phillies remove the interim tag from Sandberg this winter. Sandberg and Bowa remain close and many thought Bowa would have been a part of Sandberg’s staff if he would have been hired to manage the Cubs.

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