By Bruce Levine-

MESA, Ariz. (CBS) — Former Cub manager Dale Sveum was complimentary in his conversation about Starlin Castro on Sunday in Mesa. Sveum was fired by the Cubs on September 30 2013 after managing the team for two years.

Part of the reason he was let go centered around Castro and his sudden drop of 40 points on his 2013 batting average. Sveum, now the third base coach of the Kansas City Royals, was asked if Castro would improve going forward after a poor season.

“People are going to bring names up of your superstar type players and they are going to be the focal point,” Sveum said. “When they have an off year it is going to be magnified.”

Castro was asked about his relationship with Sveum when he entered Spring Training on February 17. He stated that he had no comment.

Castro was upset during the 2013 season about being moved around the lineup. The relationship went south when Sveum batted Castro eighth during one of his late summer slumps. Castro did not get a hit but mysteriously was promoted to the top of the order the next day.

For his part, Sveum believes the 24-year-old shortstop will be better in 2014.

“I think he will hit between .280 and .310 on a consistent basis,” Sveum said. “Who knows the reasons why
(Castro had a bad year). He was asked to take a lot of pitches last year. Some people aren’t (made that way) What if you asked Vladimir Guerrero to walk and take pitches – you know? He is just Starlin Castro. Is he going to get two hundred hits all the time? Who knows that?”

Despite getting fired by team President Theo Epstein the two still communicate by text from time to time.

“We will have diner some time this spring,” Sveum said.

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