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Cubs cautious with Starlin Castro’s injury

Updated: April 12, 2014 6:24AM

MESA, Ariz. — Shortstop Starlin Castro says his injured left hamstring feels good enough to return to games this weekend, but team officials aren’t as eager.

In fact, an injury characterized as “mild” and less severe than last spring’s injury to the other hamstring appears to have him sidelined longer than the two weeks he missed in 2013.

“We want him ready for April,” manager Rick Renteria said of the team’s cautious approach, which is expected to carry through the weekend before the team considers putting him in the lineup, possibly sometime next week.

Castro, who was injured trying to steal second base March 2, is to start running and hitting off a tee Tuesday, and possibly take some grounders a day or two after that, for the first time since getting hurt.

“It just sucks doing [rehab],” he said. “I’d rather be playing every day.”

Despite last year’s spring injury, Castro played 161 games during the regular season, after playing 162 the year before.

Swee-knee OK

Outfielder Ryan Sweeney appeared to escape injury when he slipped and twisted his knee chasing a double Sunday.

Sweeney said the knee was “a little sore” Monday morning but kept to his regular practice schedule while wearing a brace. He is expected to play Tuesday.

“I don’t know if it was concrete or a drain or whatever down in the corner,” he said, “but my front foot slipped and twisted my back knee, and I felt it pull kind of on the outside. Then it started to tighten up on me, so I kind of got a little scared. I think it’ll be all right.”

Precautionary tests revealed no structural damage. Sweeney missed two months last season after crashing into the wall in Seattle and breaking a rib.

“It’s always the freak things that happen,” he said, “and going after a ball in the outfield seems to be the main one.”

Speed limits

Pitcher Jake Arrieta, whose shoulder tightness last month has him on a slow schedule, talked Monday about ramping up his work to open the season on time.

But as good as he might feel, the club says think again. He’s scheduled for a third bullpen session Wednesday and won’t get a spring debut until the middle of next week at the earliest.

He remains a likely DL move for the start of the season.

“We’re making sure he’s on target to stay healthy, first and foremost,” Renteria said.


Twitter: @GDubCub

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