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Catching hell: 29 pitchers testing Cubs kiddie catching corps
WASHINGTON — As Cubs manager Dale Sveum said following Tuesday’s loss in Washington, “There’s probably nothing good when you break a franchise record for players used.”
He was referring to the 52 players the Cubs have now used this year.
The worst part of that number, of course, is the club-record 29 pitchers the team has used, most of those in the second half of the season – when the lion’s share of the catching has been done by rookies Welington Castillo and Steve Clevenger.
Talk about learning on the job, with new pitchers and styles – some recently acquired from outside the organization – constantly added while the kid catchers are still trying to gain their big-league footing offensively and defensively.
“It’s trying in a lot of ways to go through that many pitchers,” Sveum said. “I think [the catchers] have done a good job and they’re getting better at it.
“I think Welly’s really made some huge strides in the last month, calling games and sticking to game plans – as well as Clevenger, who’s been pretty good all year with it.
“It was new to them, this kind of grind, this kind of pressure of calling a game at the big-league level. It’s not the easiest thing, and they’ve had to get thrown into the fire the last few months.”