MESA, Ariz. – Starlin Castro estimated he’s running at 90 percent now, but the Cubs shortstop wouldn’t put a timetable on when he’ll be able to play in a game again.
“I don’t know,” Castro said Tuesday, “but we’re getting closer.”
Castro went through another series of tests at Cubs Park, taking batting practice, running (not the bases), fielding groundballs and getting treatment for the strained right hamstring that has sidelined him since March 2.
“I feel pretty good,” Castro said.
Less than two weeks until Opening Day, the Cubs are monitoring several situations and trying to get healthy.
Manager Rick Renteria said he hopes to see Mike Olt play third base on Wednesday night against the Colorado Rockies in Scottsdale. A sore right shoulder has limited Olt to first base and designated hitter this spring. He’ll need to show he can play third base – and make a strong final push – if he’s going to make this team. He did blast his fourth Cactus League homer during Tuesday night’s 7-6 loss to the Texas Rangers at Surprise Stadium, finishing with a walk and three RBI.
With Jake Arrieta (right shoulder) expected to begin the season on the disabled list, it appears the stopgap No. 5 starter will be either veteran swingman Carlos Villanueva or left-hander Chris Rusin.
James McDonald (12.71 Cactus League ERA) was probably out of the running even before he walked off the mound on Monday afternoon at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. McDonald threw two pitches to the Oakland A’s and left the game with what the Cubs called “right shoulder soreness.”
McDonald said he had tendonitis symptoms and won’t begin throwing again for a few more days. The Cubs are waiting to see if he will need an MRI.
McDonald made six starts for the Pittsburgh Pirates last year before going on the disabled list in early May with a strained right shoulder. He pitched in 10 rehab outings and signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the Cubs in February.
“Sometimes your arm doesn’t feel perfect. You throw, get some adrenaline going, you’re good,” McDonald said. “(But yesterday I) was still a little sore, so I said something. It’s nowhere near the extent it was last year.
“Last year, it was like trouble for me lifting my arm. But it started small, until it got out of control when I didn’t say anything. So I thought I’d speak up and said something.”