MESA, Ariz. -- Starlin Castro returned to the Cubs lineup Wednesday and passed all the tests.
The Cubs shortstop, who had not played since Feb. 27 because of a tight left hamstring, drew a walk in the first inning and singled in the third to load the bases against the Rockies. He also made three consecutive throws and putouts in the second inning.
"I felt pretty good," Castro said. "I'm ready to play. I'll still play every day, but I want to get going easy, I don't want to be hurt again."
The plan is to ease him into action, and Castro was lifted after three innings in an eventual 2-0 loss.
"I don't want to be too rushed," he said. "I can move pretty good. When I took ground balls earlier in [batting practice], I felt pretty good."
Castro played in all 162 games last season and has said he wants to do the same this year. It felt good for him to be on the field and not working with the medical staff.
"I don't want to be in the training room my whole life," Castro said. "I want to play."
He predicted this would be a big year for himself and the Cubs.
"I think this year is going to be a big year that I have because I feel very good defensively and offensively," Castro said. "Let's see what happens, let's see where the team goes. I think this year will be good."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less