June 25--Welington Castillo has first-hand experience that being selected to the All-Star Futures Game will be a worthwhile moment for Cubs top prospects Kris Bryant and Javier Baez.
"It's a good experience for young guys," said Castillo, who played for the World team in 2008 that defeated the USA squad 3-0 during All-Star festivities at Yankee Stadium. "They're going to be the future of the Cubs. I know they're going to represent the Cubs (well).
"Most of the guys I played with are in the big leagues. I'm very happy for (Bryant and Baez). They're going to learn from this."
The announcement of Bryant and Baez's selection occurred during Triple-A Iowa's 6-2 victory over Albuquerque in which Bryant hit his fifth home run in six games -- a three-run shot in the first inning.
All five of Bryant's hits since joining Iowa on Thursday have been home runs. Bryant is batting .346 with 27 home runs and 67 RBIs in 74 games with Double-A Tennessee and Iowa.
Bryant, 22, who grew up in Las Vegas and starred at the University of San Diego, will play for the USA squad. Baez, a native of Puerto Rico, will play for the World team. Baez is hitting only .229 but has 11 home runs and 43 RBIs for Iowa.
The memory of playing in the 2008 classic still resonates with Castillo, who recalled the starting lineup for the World team that featured Pablo Sandoval of the Giants, Elvis Andrus of the Rangers, Gerardo Parra of the Diamondbacks and Carlos Carrasco of the Phillies, as well as current Cubs teammate Hector Rondon, who was a hard-throwing reliever in the Indians' organization.
Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta was selected to the USA squad that year.
"Playing in that game is another step closer to the majors, and you get to play against the best in the minors," said Castillo, who went 0-for-2. "I was only 21, but I made sure to get to know those guys."
Calm in clutch: The Cubs' last three losses coincided with their 0-for-16 performance with runners in scoring position.
Their failures were most glaring in Monday's loss when they had runners in scoring position with no outs in the third and fourth but failed to advance them.
"You have an opportunity of maybe getting the guy over and (driving) him in," Renteria said. "You didn't necessarily need to get a well-driven ball or a base hit. You can do a lot of things and still have a productive out to produce runs.
"In that situation (Monday), we just got outside of ourselves. The emotion and things of that nature, we had guys wanting to do a lot, and maybe they got outside with their approach."
Extra innings: Cubs leadoff hitter Emilio Bonifacio (right oblique strain) isn't close to resuming baseball activity. Bonifacio is eligible to be activated from the 15-day disabled list Saturday. ... Catcher Eli Whiteside cleared waivers and was assigned outright to Iowa. ... Left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada, who allowed four hits and struck out 10 in a six-inning, 99-pitch outing for Iowa on Tuesday, no longer will be considered to start one of the two games of Saturday's doubleheader against the Nationals, Renteria said.
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