MESA, Ariz. -- Starlin Castro asked if he could play nine innings on Sunday in one of the Cubs' split-squad games. Sure, Mike Quade said.
"We've got a lot of work to do, and the best way to do it is play games," Quade said.
After one week of games, Castro was batting .533. Carlos Pena, on the other hand, was hitting .091.
"He and Rudy [Jaramillo, hitting coach] are working like heck to make some adjustments," Quade said of the first baseman. "I'm sure he's not happy. That's a process, too. I'm happy that they have a really good relationship, and they'll keep working. He's got a ways to go. It's OK. You don't expect the whole club to be rolling on the sixth of March. That almost makes you nervous."
The plan is to let the regulars get 70 to 80 at-bats this spring. Some want more.
"The more I play, the more comfortable I get," Alfonso Soriano said. "If I play more, I'll be more ready."
Soriano also has been in a good groove and was batting .467. When spring began, Jaramillo had some areas he wanted Soriano to work on, approach-wise. Soriano's only home run was to right field, which is a good sign. He's delivered.
"He's worked on what they've talked about and he's getting hits -- you can see it at the plate," Quade said. "Some guys you have to push a little. Sori's not a guy you have to push."
Quade worked with Soriano as outfield coach
MESA, Ariz. -- Look how far Mike Quade has come. In March 2008, he was the Cubs' outfield coach and decided Alfonso Soriano needed more work against the walls. Soriano had played center in '07 and was switching full time to left field.
Quade's reasoning at that time was to get Soriano used to dealing with Wrigley Field's unique configuration. But Soriano was hurt in the workout and suffered a non-displaced fracture of the middle finger of his right hand. He missed about a week.
"I ran him into the darn thing," Quade said. "He missed a week or so. When you're a young outfield coach for Lou [Piniella], you're like, 'I'm looking for work. He'll miss a week and I might miss the rest of the year or years.'"
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But he didn't.
"The work was good," Quade said. "I got carried away and ran him into the wall.
"The good news is, I survived," Quade said.
Angel Guzman, rehabbing from shoulder surgery one year ago, threw 15 pitches in a live batting practice session Saturday and is continuing to make good progress. "My command was real good," the Cubs pitcher said. Next will be 20 pitches in another batting practice session on Tuesday. ... This is a different spring for closer Carlos Marmol, who isn't fighting for a job and got a new three-year, $20 million contract last month. "I don't worry about my contract, I don't worry about money," Marmol said, then laughed. "I want to get another contract." ... Marlon Byrd has four multihit efforts in six games. ... Cubs manager Mike Quade was impressed by Andrew Cashner's changeup. The right-hander didn't use it much as a reliever last season but will need to show he has command of that and more if he's going to start. ... Randy Wells went three innings Saturday and most likely will flip-flop with Cashner and start in his next outing.
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.