Castro feeling better, intent on playing every day

Castro feeling better, intent on playing every day

MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro, sidelined since Sunday with a mild right hamstring strain, hopes to begin baseball activities early next week, and has the same goal as years past of playing all 162 games.

Castro, injured when he tried to steal second base in a game, is taking advantage of the Cubs' new hydrotherapy pool and doing exercises there twice a day. It's helped speed up his rehab.

"I don't feel any hurt or tightness," Castro said Friday. "It feels much better. I don't want to rush myself. I want to be 100 percent."

His goal every season is to play every game, which he did in 2012. Last year, Castro had a strained left hamstring in Spring Training, recovered and played 161 games.

"That's my goal every year," Castro said about playing all 162 games. "That's why this [injury] is better to happen now, hurt now, and not during the season. I'm going to be 100 percent for the season."

He is coming off his worst offensive season, when he batted .245, and is enjoying his work with new hitting coach Bill Mueller.

"I feel a little frustrated becuase I felt really locked in when I was hurt," Castro said. "I felt so good at home plate. It was only one week here, the games started, and I already felt good at home plate. That [feeling of being] locked in, it won't go away. It'll stay there. I'm going to stay locked in."

He's able to do some upper-body exercises while he nurses his sore hamstring. After devoting so much time in the offseason to preparing for this year, Castro is frustrated at the injury.

"I don't like being hurt," he said. "It's not good. I prefer to go on the field, run, get ground balls. I don't want to be in the pool. I want baseball activity."

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.