Starlin Castro says he's 100 percent and ready to go for the season opener on Monday.
According to Cubs broadcaster Jim Deshaies, he'll need to be because this is going to be an important campaign for the Cubs shortstop.
Castro was back in the Cubs' lineup for Saturday's exhibition game vs. the Diamondbacks after missing four weeks with a hamstring injury. He was hitless with a walk in three plate appearances. But it's Opening Day in Pittsburgh when Castro will really need to get off to a good start.
"Obviously a very important year for Starlin Castro," Deshaies said ahead of Saturday's game. "You look at the numbers, 2011 and '12 almost hitting .300, last year dropped off significantly, struck out a bunch more last year. Trying to be patient, trying to work walks, that really didn't work out and now you're going to see the old Castro being much more aggressive early in counts."
Castro batted second Saturday, and Deshaies wondered where he would settle in Rick Renteria's batting order this season.
"He's got a lot of flexibility, he's got a lot of options from both sides of the plate. I don't know where ultimately Castro's going to slot," Deshaies said. "He's not a real good fit in the leadoff spot, he likes to hit there. I think actually the No. 2 spot in the lineup is probably the best place for him."
Castro and the Cubs get the 2013 season started Monday against the Pirates.