Donning a Chicago Cubs jersey for the first time, new manager Rick Renteria is excited about the opportunity to lead the Cubs, including embattled shortstop Starlin Castro.

Castro is coming off his worst season as a professional -- hitting just .245 -- but the positive-minded Renteria is ready to go to work on him -- and the rest of the team.

“I have to get to know him as a person and I have to figure what it is that moves him,” Renteria said at a Wrigley Field luncheon with media on Thursday. “Sometimes we (as people) don’t have conversations, thinking we don’t want to have a confrontation or maybe we don’t like the answer we’re going to get. But the reality is we have to have dialogue and the only way you can improve things is to converse and try to put a plan or an idea on how they can move forward. That’s one of the things we have to do as teachers.”


Former manager Dale Sveum wasn’t one to shy away from a tough conversation, but the key difference with the new coaching staff might come down to that one word: teaching.

Team President Theo Epstein was asked what the major goal was in recent hirings, including former batting champion Bill Mueller as hitting coach and newly retired player Eric Hinske as first base coach.

“To find as many coaches as we can that can impact players,” he responded. “It takes a special personality as well as experience to actually reach the modern player. To dig deep and engage ... and find out what makes them tick.”

That might be Renteria’s strength. His positive attitude became an attribute early in his career. At Class-A ball in 1982 he had his best year as a professional, hitting .331 with 14 home runs and 100 runs batted in. His manager was former infielder for the Detroit Tigers, Johnny Lippon.