CIN@CHC: Sveum on coming up short versus the Reds

CHICAGO -- Cubs manager Dale Sveum had no trouble staying awake to watch the Blackhawks beat the Bruins, 4-3, in triple overtime on Wednesday night in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

"Even without the overtime, it was probably the best hockey game I've ever seen," Sveum said Thursday. "Obviously, both teams came right out, and the Hawks came right out, pounding and hitting. The competition the whole night, the level of the first three periods was just incredible for two teams.

"The opportunities both teams had -- for watching on TV -- it was no doubt the best hockey game I've ever seen."

Sveum used to be a Phoenix Coyotes season ticket holder until the team moved to Glendale, Ariz. He and his son went to many games in Phoenix.

"It's the one sport where nobody on the ice can take one second off, or all [heck] can break loose," Sveum said. "People can do that in other sports. In football, if the play isn't going your way, half the line can take it off. In hockey, it's non-stop, and that's what makes that sport so great. You can't take one second off."

Castro back in No. 2 spot in Cubs' lineup

CIN@CHC: Castro plates Soriano with a double

CHICAGO -- After eight games at the bottom of the order, Starlin Castro was back in the No. 2 spot in the Cubs' lineup on Thursday. He had a successful return, going 4-for-7 with a double and two runs in a 6-5 win over the Reds in 14 innings.

The shortstop was dropped from second to seventh on June 4, and was inserted in the No. 6 spot on Wednesday. He went 2-for-28 in the eight games. Castro was batting .254 in 49 games in the No. 2 hole.

"We dabbled with it a little bit, and obviously the offense isn't doing a whole lot with him down there," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said before Thursday's game. "It's just getting back to where we were. He's a guy who can swing the bat, and we have all the confidence in the world he can come out of it. You need him up there more than three or four times. Hopefully, he can get that fifth at-bat."

Castro isn't the only one scuffling. Entering Thursday, Anthony Rizzo was batting .248, Darwin Barney .203 and Luis Valbuena .238.

"There's nobody right now who's stepping up and doing anything in any position in the lineup," Sveum said. "Sometimes you get to the point where you might want to pick the lineup out of a hat and see what happens."

The Cubs were batting .158 in their last eight home games, and after Wednesday's game, Rizzo said the players aren't having fun.

"Offensively, especially, you try to make guys understand these things are in cycles and go in cycles," Sveum said. "You don't use things as excuses, but we've faced some pretty good pitching lately. You have to grind out the at-bats, and all of a sudden it starts coming."

Extra bases

• Cubs reliever Shawn Camp will pitch two innings on Friday for Class A Kane County in his second rehab outing.

Camp, on the disabled list with a sprained right big toe, is scheduled to throw two innings and no more than 35 pitches. He threw one inning for Kane County on Tuesday, and gave up one hit and struck out one.

• An MRI of right-hander Zach Putnam's right elbow confirmed he has a bone spur. Putnam was placed on the disabled list on Wednesday.

• Kyuji Fujikawa, who underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on Tuesday, rejoined the Cubs on Thursday. Dr. James Andrews did the procedure in Pensacola, Fla.

• Reds manager Dusty Baker compiled a 322-326 record in four seasons as the Cubs manager (2003-06), including a trip to the playoffs his first season and a 96-loss season his final year.

"I've been through it," Baker said Thursday. "Any manager that's been around has been through it. Everybody's like, 'Shake up the lineup.' You shake it up, you've still got the same stuff. And I'm cleaning it up, of course.

"It's very frustrating," Baker said. "You're not sleeping much. You're trying to figure out something that you've already figured, and it's hard to accept that maybe you're not good. Sometimes you're not good. You've got some good players, but you might not be good overall."

Baker noticed empty seats at Wrigley.

"I don't think about that," he said. "I'm on the other side now. But it's different. I don't know if it's the weather, or if school's not out, but it's always a little different early, and then the weather gets nicer."