Cubs feel Starlin will be ready by opener

Cubs feel Starlin will be ready by opener

MESA, Ariz. -- Starlin Castro is still on schedule to get into Cactus League games next week, and Cubs manager Rick Renteria says there is enough time for the shortstop to be ready by Opening Day.

Castro, sidelined since March 2 with a mild right hamstring strain, has been taking some light swings, but isn't able to run at full speed yet.

"He's progressing well," Renteria said Friday. "For any of us, our biggest concern is to make sure he's ready for the start of the season."

Castro, who missed two weeks last spring with a strained left hamstring, could get some extra at-bats in Minor League camp.

"He's moving and doing things he needs to do and recovering well, and I think he's moving forward," Renteria said.

With Castro sidelined, the Cubs have been able to give top prospect Javier Baez more time at shortstop. Baez belted his third spring home run Wednesday night. He is tied for the team lead with Mike Olt.

"He's shown the ability to adjust from at-bat to at-bat," Renteria said of Baez, who will open the season at Triple-A Iowa. "They might strike him out in the previous at-bat on three breaking balls, maybe a changeup, but he starts to adjust, and within the at-bat he starts to adjust. It seems like the deeper in the count he gets, he starts to zone in on the pitcher, which is a tremendous trait. As experience continues to feed him, he'll only get better."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for 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.