MESA, Ariz. – Starlin Castro summed up the experience for an injured player in spring training: “It sucks to be doing this. I’d rather be playing.”
The Cubs shortstop continued getting treatment for his strained right hamstring and looked forward to resuming baseball activities. He planned to begin running again on Tuesday, maybe hit off a tee and take groundballs by Wednesday. He hoped to play in Cactus League games this weekend.
“We’ll see,” Castro said Monday at Cubs Park. “I don’t want to be rushed.”
Rick Renteria would agree with that idea. That’s why the Cubs manager pushed Castro’s return date into next week: “We want him ready for April.”
Castro got injured on March 2 and will likely be sidelined around two weeks, the same amount of time he missed last spring with a strained left hamstring. He still wound up playing 161 games last season.
“I’ll just work a little bit more to get stronger,” Castro said.
Outfielder Ryan Sweeney (sore right knee) expects to be cleared to play by Tuesday, while Renteria said Mike Olt (sore right shoulder) is still “building up to” playing third base and should be seen there “shortly.” Olt has been limited to first base and designated hitter while dealing with a “dead arm” he’s had before in spring training.
Renteria also slowed down the timetable for Jake Arrieta, who has thrown two bullpen sessions and is scheduled for another on Wednesday as he tries to catch up after feeling right shoulder tightness this winter.
It’s a safe bet Arrieta will begin the season on the disabled list while the Cubs go with someone like Carlos Villanueva in the No. 5 spot for a couple turns through the rotation.
“I’ve kind of expressed that – regardless – I want to be there,” Arrieta said. “Whether it’s April 4 or April 11, I think we’ll bridge the gap until that point and make sure I’m in the right place to be ready and help the team win all the way throughout October. A week now is worth it to gain two or three months at the end of the season.”