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Starlin Castro’s defense still a work in progress

Chicago Cubs shortstop StarlCastro takes infield practice during workout Tuesday February 28 2012 spring training camp MesArizona. | TOM CRUZE~Sun-Times

Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro takes infield practice during the workout on Tuesday February 28, 2012 at spring training camp in Mesa, Arizona. | TOM CRUZE~Sun-Times

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Updated: April 13, 2012 10:36AM

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Don’t start fitting shortstop Starlin Castro for a Gold Glove just yet.

Even though the defensively challenged Castro has made improvements this spring, manager Dale Sveum said it’s tough to make a fair assessment one way or the other.

“I think it’s too small of a sample,’’ Sveum said Sunday. “The games he’s played, he hasn’t really gotten a lot of action, so it hasn’t been a good-enough sample to tell yet, but he’s been working better. He’s cleaning up a few things, but it’s still a process on an every-day basis.’’

Castro had 27 errors as a rookie in 2010 and 29 errors last season.

Lack of concentration has been his biggest issue.

“The only downside from him last year was his focus,’’ former teammate Aramis Ramirez said Saturday. “That’s why he made a lot of errors. That happens to everyone, but he’s going to get better.

“Castro has all the tools. He’s got good hands, good feet, he moves well. He’s just got to concentrate a little better, and he’s going to get the job done.

‘‘Offensively, he’s one of the best hitters right now. I mean he’s got 200 hits at 21, so he’s only going to get better. Defensively, he’s got to work a little more.’’

Nothing new

When asked about an extension for right-hander Matt Garza, general manager Jed Hoyer said, “I’m not going to keep commenting on it.’’

Garza is off to a slow start.

After allowing two runs in his Cactus League debut, Garza gave up four runs to the Dodgers, allowing three hits, walking two and hitting Juan Uribe with a pitch in 11/3 innings.

“It’s tough, especially when I’m trying to keep myself on a straight program of just fastball/changeups,’’ Garza said. “It’s tough, especially with hitters going up there just ready to hack and looking for fastballs. I got myself into trouble more than anything. Not anything I’m too concerned about, just a bad day.’’

Early praise

Hoyer has been watching the way Sveum has handled camp, and the entire front office seems pleased.

“This is the first time he gets to do this himself, so I’m sure he’s watched for a long time and thought, ‘This is how I would run things; this is how I’d do things running my first spring training,’ ’’ Hoyer said.

“From what I’ve seen so far, he’s done an excellent job of it.’’

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