As Cubs catchers continue to struggle at the plate, Welington Castillo is coming closer to his return.
The injured Cubs catcher — recovering from a rib-cage injury — began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Iowa on Friday night, singling and driving in a run in five at-bats.
And according to Cubs manager Rick Renteria, Castillo is feeling fine.
“The reports are that he’s feeling good,” Renteria said. “He played nine innings last night, a couple blocked balls, a couple ground balls, but no incident. He felt good, and he continues to progress.”
[MORE CUBS: Epstein doesn't foresee Bryant call up this season]
Castillo wasn’t exactly lighting it up before his injury, which knocked him out of the team’s June 1 game against the Brewers in Milwaukee, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be a very pleasant sight once he returns to the Cubs lineup on a regular basis. His replacements — John Baker and Eli Whiteside — have struggled mightily.
Since Castillo departed on June 1, Baker has hit .167, with just seven hits and one RBI in 42 at-bats. He’s walked just four times and struck out 14. Whiteside, who’s been used very sparingly, has appeared in just seven games and picked up only two hits in 22 at-bats, good for a .091 batting average.
In 43 games, Castillo had a .242 average with a .287 on-base percentage, five homers and 21 RBIs. His replacements have combined to bat .141.