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Cubs to get Ian Stewart back sooner than expected

Ian Stewart

Ian Stewart

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Updated: March 11, 2013 6:14PM



SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The Cubs got positive news from the medical staff on several players Monday, including a better-than-expected prognosis on third baseman Ian Stewart.

Stewart, who hasn’t played since suffering a strained quad in a Feb. 21 intrasquad game, is scheduled to make his Cactus League debut off the bench Thursday, manager Dale Sveum said after Stewart fared well in practice and running drills Monday.

``There’s plenty of time to now,’’ said Sveum, who only one day earlier said Stewart’s return might have to be pushed back past this weekend because the quad still bothered him while running on Saturday.

“We were a little bit worried that it was going to be maybe next week, but he’s gotten [there] a little bit quicker,” added Sveum, who stressed that Stewart still needs to win the job – even if Stewart believes, as he said Saturday, that the job is his if he’s ready to play.

“He came in knowing it was a job [he has to win]; he’s going to have to just play well and produce, and we’ll see where we’re at. There’s still 16 or 17 possible games left, starting Thursday, and you’re looking at hopefully cramming 30 at-bats into that, and some minor-league at-bats, too. So there’s plenty of time to evaluate him.”

Meanwhile, right-hander Matt Garza (left lat) resumed throwing Monday, just over a week since he was shut down because of a flareup with the lat. He played catch from 45 feet (25 tosses) and is expected to throw again Wednesday.

He might have time for one Cactus League game before the end of camp and is expected to spend the first two to four weeks of the season on the disabled list.

Sveum also said shortstop Starlin Castro, who suffered a mild hamstring strain running out a grounder Feb. 27, will make his return and start Wednesday, with utility man Brent Lillibridge (groin) also scheduled to make his return that day, off the bench.



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