MESA, Ariz. – Starlin Castro’s hamstring injury has lingered long enough that it makes you wonder if the Cubs shortstop will be ready to start the season on time.
“I think I’ll be good for Opening Day,” Castro said. “I’ll take some at-bats in the minor leagues, play a couple games here. I think I’ll be 100 percent and really strong for the start of the season."
Castro went through another workout on Wednesday at Cubs Park, fielding groundballs and taking batting practice. He is expected to resume his running program on Thursday. He said he doesn’t know when he will be able to play in minor-league games, where he could lead off every inning and make up for some of the at-bats he’s lost.
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The Cubs have only eight days left on their Cactus League schedule – plus two exhibition games against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field – before facing the Pittsburgh Pirates for real on March 31 at PNC Park.
“I feel really close,” Castro said.
Castro has been sidelined with a strained right hamstring since March 2. After injuring his left hamstring and missing two weeks during spring training last year, he showed up to camp in much better shape, expecting to return to his All-Star level.
“The big year, that’s still in my mind,” Castro said. “It doesn’t go away. It’s frustrating because I come in here at 100 percent and get hurt. That’s why I’m frustrated. (But) I think it’s going to be a good year for me.”