ST. LOUIS -- After an off-day Monday, the Cubs will open a three-game series in Miami against the Marlins. Tuesday will be the first time the Cubs see new Marlins Park and it also will be Miami manager Ozzie Guillen's first game back after serving a five-game suspension for comments he made about Fidel Castro.
The latter will likely get more attention than how the Cubs feel about the ballpark.
"A few extra people will be down there, there's no question about it," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Sunday. "There's definitely going to be added press and media and questions. It's an unfortunate incident that happened and hopefully it goes away pretty quick, but it's not going to go away when we're there."
What has Sveum heard about the new park?
"It sounds like it's huge, it sounds like it's really big," he said. "The gaps are huge, just watching a little bit of the games I've watched. There have been some balls crushed that are outs. [The Marlins] have some speed. It turns into a triples ballpark, so that's one of the things you have to be aware of. Balls in the gap are triples, not doubles, and you have to be aware of that and try to eliminate the slugging percentage, especially early in the inning when there's no outs or one out."
The Cubs will miss facing Carlos Zambrano, who was traded to Miami in January for pitcher Chris Volstad.
"He was a teammate of mine for a lot of years," said Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster, who will start Tuesday. "He's a good person and was a good friend to me. I'm excited to see him and glad we don't have to face him, because I know how good he can be."
After Sveum was hired as the Cubs manager, he did talk to Zambrano on the phone. The Cubs' clubhouse is definitely quieter without Zambrano.
"You hear about certain things and you hear what a good guy he was in the clubhouse and guys liked him, but obviously, he'd go off the handle a little bit once in a while," Sveum said. "Personally, I can't even comment [on Zambrano], because I don't know him that well besides a phone call after I got the job. Obviously, he had some really good years, and he's a heck of a pitcher."
The Cubs have had fewer distractions this season.
"It's early in the year, but that's one thing you try to do as a manager is keep everybody on the same playing field every single day and communicate. And as a manager, you have to be the same guy every day," Sveum said. "You keep going; it's a long season."
Cubs break out No. 42 to celebrate Robinson
ST. LOUIS -- Sunday was Jackie Robinson Day for Major League Baseball, and all of the Cubs wore No. 42 jerseys in honor of the former Dodgers great who broke the color barrier.
"Every year it's one of those days when you reflect on one of the most important days in the history of sports," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "I think it's good for everybody.
"I think it's one of those days like a national holiday in baseball, so to speak," he said. "You reflect back and understand the importance of Jackie Robinson's first day in the big leagues."
Sveum proactive with Castro's defense
ST. LOUIS -- Cubs manager Dale Sveum met briefly with Starlin Castro on Sunday to go over his throwing mechanics in hopes of cutting down on the shortstop's errors.
Castro made two throwing errors on Saturday in the Cubs' 5-1 loss the Cardinals. The first one might have been a result of Castro hurrying his throw because of the runner, and the second one was more a mechanical flaw.
"Sometimes you're going to have those errors," Sveum said. "It's still part of the process."
Castro is on a good pace on both offense and baserunning so far. His six steals were the most the Major Leagues entering Sunday's action, and he is one of 14 Cubs to record at least six stolen bases in April since 1921.
Sveum has tried to get the Cubs to be more aggressive on the basepaths. So far, they've swiped eight bases in nine games. Last year, the Cubs did not record their eighth stolen base until May 17, which was Game No. 40.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum rested some of the regulars and started Reed Johnson, Blake DeWitt, Jeff Baker and Joe Mather on Sunday in the series finale against the Cardinals.
Part of the reason is to give the players at-bats before they face lefty Mark Buehrle in the upcoming series in Miami. Sveum said right-handed hitters also seem to have an edge against Cardinals pitcher Jake Westbrook. In his career, left-handed batters had a .275 average against Westbook compared to .278 by right-handed hitters. There isn't much difference in those numbers, but last year, lefties hit .260, while right-handers batted .316 off the Cardinals' starter on Sunday.
Dave McKay, who was the first-base coach last season for the Cardinals, was happy to take part in the ring ceremony on Saturday at Busch Stadium and said he appreciated former manager Tony La Russa wanting to include him. Cubs manager Dale Sveum made sure his players were in the dugout to watch the festivities.
"I thought it was a very good move by Dale and a class move to be out there, and not just because I was out there but be out there to see what it was all about," McKay said.
Backup catcher Steve Clevenger subbed at first base in the eighth and ninth innings. You may see more of that.
"We all know how well he swings the bat," Sveum said. "How do I get his bat in the lineup?"
Clevenger could get a start against some right-handed pitchers rather than wait to use him as a pinch-hitter late in the game, Sveum said.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.