Cubs: Starlin Castro, Mike Olt try to get set for Opening Day

Cubs: Starlin Castro, Mike Olt try to get set for Opening Day
March 17, 2014, 5:15 pm
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MESA, Ariz. — The Cubs have long-term, big-picture questions about the left side of their infield. They could have options with Javier Baez and Kris Bryant. But right now, they’re just trying to get Starlin Castro and Mike Olt healthy.

It’s been 15 days since Castro strained his right hamstring, and the Cubs had targeted this week for their All-Star shortstop to start playing in Cactus League games again.

“I don’t know if it was this week that we were talking about,” manager Rick Renteria said Monday at Cubs Park. “(But) like I mentioned before, we can do any number of things to get him a lot of at-bats.

“He’d be able to get the reps that he needs over a short period of time.”

Heading into camp, Cubs officials had praised Castro’s commitment to an offseason conditioning program. Castro told reporters he’s running at 80 percent now and again predicted he’ll be fine by Opening Day.

“I’m not too worried about Starlin, to be honest with you,” Renteria said. “His demeanor is pretty positive, pretty upbeat, and I think he’s trying to get himself ready for the season.”

[MORE: Cubs: Is the future now for Mike Olt?]

Meanwhile, the Cubs scratched Olt from Monday’s split-squad lineup in Phoenix, with Renteria saying the third baseman’s right shoulder is feeling “a little fatigued.”

Olt’s been advertised as a plus defender, but he hasn’t been able to showcase his skills at third base yet. Two weeks from Opening Day, is he running out of time to make the team?

“No, I think he should be OK,” Renteria said. “We know he plays third base, so it’s just a matter of getting him over there.”

The Cubs will face the Texas Rangers — the organization that named Olt its minor league player of the year in 2012 — on Tuesday night in Surprise. That 7:05 p.m. start in Arizona should give him some extra time to recover.

“I’m starting to feel 100 percent,” Olt said.