Rick Renteria and his wife Ilene had a house-hunting appointment Thursday.

But the new Cubs manager already is in the midst of building his own foundation with slightly more than two months before the start of spring training.

The perennially upbeat Renteria revealed he has contacted several returning players and will meet later this month with his diverse coaching staff at the Cubs' spring training facility in Mesa, Ariz., to map out spring training plans.

Communication is a big priority, and Renteria indicated he has talked to shortstop Starlin Castro, whose struggles in 2013 triggered an avalanche of theories and scrutiny from everyone but Dr. Phil.

"People ask me about Starlin, and I watch him from the other side," said Renteria, a coach with the Padres for the last five seasons. "And I say, 'Gosh, what a tremendously gifted athlete.' I have to get to know him as a person. And I have to figure out what it is that moves him. He's a wonderful kid. I actually was able to speak to him at length. He was one of the first guys I called, and he's willing to do anything we ask him to do.

"The reality is sometimes I know people talk about him losing focus, maybe having bad at-bats and things of that nature. We have to address those things. … The reality is you have to have dialogue. And the only way you can improve things is to converse and try to put a plan or an idea of how they can move forward. That's one of the things we have to do as teachers … the whole coaching staff.''

The Cubs' future is built around mega-prospects who probably won't start to make an impact until 2015. Renteria is aware of that but won't ignore the players he's inheriting.