Ozzie Guillen’s return from suspension awaits Cubs in Miami
BY GORDON WITTENMYER email@example.com April 15, 2012 8:48PM
Chicago Cubs v St. Louis Cardinals
Updated: May 17, 2012 8:11AM
ST. LOUIS — The Cubs’ pomp-and-circus-tent road trip headed for the big top after their 10-3 loss Sunday to the St. Louis Cardinals.
After a weekend spent watching the Cardinals celebrate their 2011 World Series championship, the Cubs take a deep breath Monday before busing into the middle of Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen’s return from a five-game suspension Tuesday.
‘‘I would imagine there’s going to be a few extra people down there,’’ manager Dale Sveum said. ‘‘No question about it. There’s definitely going to be added media. . . . It’s just an unfortunate incident that happened. Hopefully, it goes away pretty quick. But it’s not going to go away when we’re there.’’
If anything, the regrouping Cubs might be able to fly under the radar on their first trip to Miami’s new stadium as all eyes turn to Guillen on his first day back. The Marlins suspended Guillen for five games and he issued an hourlong public apology last week for telling a Time magazine reporter he admired Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
Some Cuban-American groups have called for the Marlins to fire Gilluen, who is in his first season as their manager, and protests at the ballpark are expected.
Sveum said the Cubs haven’t been told about what to expect in terms of possible security or other logistical issues involving the series, but he doesn’t expect it to be a distraction.
‘‘Distractions like that for us are very minimal, if any at all,’’ he said.
Former Cubs right-hander Carlos Zambrano pitched for the Marlins on Saturday and isn’t scheduled to face his old team in the three-game series.
Sveum met with shortstop Starlin Castro after Castro’s two errors Saturday gave him four in the Cubs’ first nine games. Castro led the majors with 29 errors last season.
‘‘We just talked about the mechanics,’’ said Sveum, a former big-league shortstop who has taken a hands-on approach since the start of spring training in efforts to help Castro improve in the field.
‘‘The first one, I think, was just a result of looking at the runner when he got the ground ball . . . and then your mechanics break down. The other one was more of a mechanical thing with his wrist when he’s throwing.’’
Castro, who has made fielding a priority this season, said he appreciates having a manager with experience at his position.
‘‘It’s very big for me,’’ he said. ‘‘He played in the big leagues at shortstop. He knows how to play shortstop.’’
Said Sveum: ‘‘Unfortunately right now, some of those errors are still part of the process.’’
Alfonso Soriano is off to a .313 start and ranks second on the Cubs in RBI (six) and hits (10), but he still doesn’t have an extra-base hit. Last season, three of his first six hits — and 10 of his first 24 — were home runs.
† Sveum, on Major League Baseball’s recognition Sunday of the 65th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s debut, which started the 20th-century integration of the majors: ‘‘A day where you reflect back on one of the more important days in the history of sports. . . . It’s a national holiday in baseball, so to speak.’’