CINCINNATI -- The Cubs appear to be focusing on four players for the upcoming First-Year Player Draft, to be held June 6: pitchers Jonathan Gray of Oklahoma and Mark Appel of Stanford and third basemen Kris Bryant of San Diego and Colin Moran of North Carolina.
The Cubs have the second overall pick in the first round behind the Astros. Manager Dale Sveum has watched video of the top prospects.
"Now we're down to the core guys," Sveum said Sunday. "It's interesting to keep up with them and watch the video. There's new video that comes up sometimes. You don't get to see, like with Bryant, you don't get to see him taking ground balls, and the other day there was nice video of him taking ground balls and showing his arm angles."
Bryant has hit 30 home runs entering conference tournament play, and played for Team USA over the summer. A right-handed bat, he impressed Sveum as did Moran, a left-handed bat, considered a better pure hitter than Bryant.
"[Moran] is another polished-type hitter at that age already," Sveum said. "He has a Robin Ventura-type swing and presence at the plate. He has really good plate discipline and not really the power numbers that Bryant can put up. Bryant is a big 6-foot-5, some kind of leverage at the plate. Two different hitters, one's right, one's left. It's fun to watch them."
Sveum also has seen video of Gray and Appel.
"They're pretty special arms," Sveum said. "They're two different guys. Appel is so advanced as far as his secondary pitches, and Gray can just power you away with easy life on the fastball. It looks like it's showing 85 [mph] and it's 100.
"They're both pretty good," he said. "I don't know if one separates from the other one."
Fujikawa likely headed to DL with forearm injury
CINCINNATI -- Cubs reliever Kyuji Fujikawa appears headed to the disabled list for the second time this season.
The right-hander had to leave Sunday's 5-4 victory over the Reds in the ninth inning with soreness in his right forearm. It's similar to what put him on the disabled list earlier this season. He landed on the DL on April 13 with a muscular strain of his right forearm and was activated May 10.
The Cubs' game against the Reds was tied at 4 when Cincinnati had two on and two outs in the ninth against Fujikawa. The right-hander said he felt some soreness on the first pitch to Joey Votto, who drew a walk.
Athletic trainer Ed Halbur then went to the mound, and Fujikawa was removed from the game. Kevin Gregg got Brandon Phillips to fly out and end the inning, and also pitched the 10th, picking up the win.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Fujikawa's injury appears to be the same as what sidelined him earlier this season. The Cubs' bullpen is already short-handed with Shawn Camp on the disabled list because of a foot injury.
Fujikawa is to be examined Monday in Chicago. The Cubs will likely make a roster move Monday as well.
Fujikawa is carrying a 5.25 ERA and has allowed seven runs over 12 innings pitched in as many games this season.
Sveum plans to alter lineup against White Sox lefties
CINCINNATI -- Cubs outfielder David DeJesus is expected to get a rare start Wednesday against White Sox lefty John Danks. Manager Dale Sveum has stuck to a platoon against southpaw pitchers, although it hasn't been as successful as he'd like. Chicago is 4-10 against left-handed starters.
"I'll keep the same approach," said DeJesus, a career .254 hitter vs. left-handed pitchers compared to .293 vs. right-handers.
DeJesus is one of the few batters in the Cubs' lineup who is patient at the plate and works the count. That's a topic that was discussed at a recent team meeting.
"The team came together, and we had a little meeting about our approaches at the plate," DeJesus said. "We just have to stay with [the approach] and trust it. If one at-bat goes bad, don't just throw it away -- just keep going. It's going to work in your favor. Just keep trusting it."
The season hasn't gone the way the Cubs expected, and the players talked about that, too.
"We're saying, 'It's a long year, we have plenty of games left, but we have to keep battling and can't give up just because we have a couple bad outcomes,'" DeJesus said. "We can't throw away what we've worked on since Spring Training.
"You have to go up there and have the same approach every at-bat," he said. "You can't just go up there swinging. We have to keep working and keep understanding."
Danks is one of three left-handers the Cubs will face in the four-game Interleague series against the White Sox, in which the teams will play Monday and Tuesday at U.S. Cellular Field and Wednesday and Thursday at Wrigley. Scott Hairston will be the designated hitter Monday and Dioner Navarro on Tuesday for the Cubs.
"They have three completely different type left-handers pitching against us," Sveum said of Jose Quintana, Chris Sale and John Danks.
The Cubs vs. White Sox series has been a six-game, home-and-road series in the past, and can become a bit of a circus-like atmosphere. Sveum doesn't like the new format.
"I've always liked circuses," he said. "It's such a strange circumstance to play four games, in obviously the same city but in two different parks. There's no other way to do it now, and there's nothing you can do about it, but it's kind of funny how it comes that way with the crosstown rivals."
Castro confident that he will find his swing
CINCINNATI -- This has not been a good road trip for Starlin Castro.
The Cubs' shortstop entered Sunday's contest 4-for-21 in the five previous games against the Pirates and Reds, batting .265 overall and .250 this month. That's not very Castro-like.
"I feel really good," Castro said Sunday. "I'm working hard. I know it'll change. It won't stay like this for the whole year -- I feel too good. They're pitching me the same. If I keep doing my adjustments, keep staying aggressive, I know it'll change."
He began the season well, batting .277 in April with a .420 slugging percentage. This month, he has a .304 slugging percentage, no home runs and nine RBIs.
"The year I hit 200 hits, that's how I feel at home plate," said Castro, referring to the 2011 season when he totaled 207 hits and batted .307. "Sometimes I feel too rushed, and I know that's not me. I have to be a little more relaxed and let [my] talent go. I feel good. I know it's coming. I know I can be alright. I trust myself."
Cubs manager Dale Sveum has said often that some of the players need to slow down to improve their approach at the plate.
"That's one of the points is slow down," Castro said. "[This has] never happened to me, never, and I get a little frustrated. That's what I need to do is slow down. It's not me, and good things don't happen. I feel good, I have a good swing. Let's see what happens."
Cubs gear up for crosstown action vs. White Sox
CINCINNATI -- The Cubs return to Interleague action on Monday when they face their crosstown rivals, the White Sox, at U.S. Cellular Field. This year, the Cubs and White Sox will play a four-game, home-and-away series back to back rather than six games. The Cubs are 2-1 in three games against the American League so far, with 14 Interleague games remaining, including 10 against AL West opponents.
The Cubs own a 109-128 (.460) all-time record in Interleague play, dating to 1997.
The Cubs will play Tuesday at U.S. Cellular Field and Wednesday at Wrigley Field, marking the first time they'll play the same team in different ballparks on consecutive days since April 1990. In that year, the Cubs and Mets played at Wrigley Field on April 16, followed by a game at Shea Stadium the next day. The game played at Wrigley was a makeup game because of the lockout of 1990.
Cubs Leaders vs. White Sox, 1997-2012
Games: Sammy Sosa, 42
Average: Mark Grace, .350
Home runs: Aramis Ramirez, 13
RBIs: Sosa, 39
Pitching (minimum 25 innings pitched):
ERA: Mark Prior, 2.88
Wins: Carlos Zambrano, 6
Saves: Carlos Marmol, 4
Strikeouts: Zambrano, 71
Cubs vs. White Sox Notes
• Forty-one of the games have been decided by one or two runs (White Sox lead, 24-17)
• Fifteen of the games have been decided in the last at-bat (White Sox lead, 8-7)
• There have been 171 players who have appeared in at least one Major League game for both teams, including Cubs pitcher Edwin Jackson.
•The two teams have made 22 trades, most recently on Nov. 16, 2006, when the Cubs acquired Neal Cotts for David Aardsma and Carlos Vazquez
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.