Anthony Rizzo was the best friend Starlin Castro had last night

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Interesting story from the Cubs’ clubhouse via Patrick Mooney at CSNChicago.com.

Last night, with Dan Uggla at the plate, Starlin Castro fielded a grounder and appeared to lollygag the throw to first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Uggla, not the fastest man around — and maybe not even the fastest man named Uggla in Georgia — was safe with an infield single.

After the inning was over, manager Dale Sveum got in Castro’s face to yell at him for, once again, making a mental mistake.  Except when it was all over, Sveum was apologizing to Castro. Thanks to Rizzo intervening. Here’s Sveuem:

“It was one of those things where I apologized to Castro afterward,” Sveum said. “Rizzo came to his rescue right away and said, ‘Skip, that was my fault. I just told him to give me time.’

And here’s Rizzo:

“I took full blame for it – it’s my fault,” said Rizzo, who was on a defensive shift for that at-bat. “I told him before that to give me a little time, and that’s just me not knowing Uggla’s speed. I thought I had time to get there. I busted there right away, but he just beat the throw … “I want Castro to feel comfortable with any play,” Rizzo said. “Any throw he wants to make, I’ll be there to catch it. If I miss that pick, it’s my fault.”

Two possibilities: (1) it really was Castro’s fault and Rizzo was trying to protect his teammate from the boss; or (2) it was really Rizzo’s fault and, rather than let the easy target Castro take the fall, he stood up to take his medicine.

Either one shows a kind of leadership. The latter one a tad less leadership than simple responsibility, but from a rookie, that’s not always expected.

Whatever you make of it, though, it’s a rather neat and interesting little thing.

Reds sign outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera to minor league deals

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The Reds picked up outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera on minor league deals, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports. Both Williams and Herrera will receive invites to spring training and could compete for backup outfield roles behind Adam Duvall, Billy Hamilton and Scott Schebler.

Williams, 26, completed a three-year track with the Yankees in 2017. He has yet to see a full season of playing time, however, and went 4-for-17 with two stolen bases during a five-game span with the club in 2017. While not a power hitter, his speed and steady contact rate produced a .263/.309/.318 batting line over 437 plate appearances in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, including two home runs, three triples and 19 stolen bases.

Herrera, 25, has yet to make his big league debut. After seven years in the Rockies’ system, he finally reached Triple-A Albuquerque in 2017 and slashed .278/.351/.394 with three home runs and 20 stolen bases in 363 PA. He looks most comfortable in the left field corner, but has some experience at shortstop and third base and should give the Reds a nice utility option come spring.