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Castro plays in consecutive game No. 200

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ATLANTA -- Friday was Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro's 200th consecutive game played. He's got a long way to go to catch Cal Ripken Jr.'s streak, but Castro's 200 is the longest active streak in the National League.

"If 200 is hard, how can you think about 2,000?" Castro said.

"It's nice to have a guy, let alone your shortstop, who can go out there every day," manager Dale Sveum said. "Knock on wood, he's very durable. He doesn't ever have anything wrong or anything. He's just a guy who likes to play, which is really nice to have from one of your best players."

Past Cubs managers Lou Piniella and Mike Quade both gave Castro off-days when they felt the young shortstop needed a break. He doesn't want any more breathers.

"If my body lets me play, I'll keep playing," Castro said. "That's my goal for this year is 162 games. Every year. I don't want a day off. That's why I prepare. Sometimes, when you have a slump, you get a day off. Lou Piniella did it to me and Quade, and then I come back hard again."

Did he tell Sveum no days off?

"I don't have to tell him," Castro said. "He knows I like playing."

The Tigers' Prince Fielder has the longest active streak in the Major Leagues, having played in 346 consecutive games.

"We were talking the other day about what Ripken did," Sveum said of the Iron Man's 2,632 consecutive games played record. "Did he go through his whole career without any broken bones or broken fingers? I'm sure something happened. ... There's a lot of luck in that and, obviously, some grit involved, too."

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.

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{"event":["opening_day" ] }
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