3/2/2014 7:11 P.M. ET
Castro leaves game with mild hamstring strain
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
MESA, Ariz. -- Last spring, Starlin Castro missed two weeks because of a sore left hamstring and amped up his offseason workouts to report in better shape. But on Sunday, in his second spring at-bat, the Cubs shortstop had to leave the game because of a mild right hamstring strain.
Castro was hit by a pitch with one out in the first by the Royals' Wade Davis, and then was thrown out trying to steal second. He walked gingerly off the field and was lifted defensively.
"It's not too bad like last year," Castro said. "We don't want to take a chance. It's early right now. You take a couple days to get better."
Last year, Castro was sidelined from Feb. 27 to March 13.
"Last year, I couldn't walk and now I can walk normal," Castro said. "[Athletic trainer PJ Mainville] stretched it out and I feel better.
"I don't want to rush," he said. "I want to take time to get better. I think I'll be better."
Castro was in better shape this spring. The Cubs sent strength and conditioning coach Tim Buss to the Dominican Republic for three weeks, and Castro trained for another four weeks at a complex in Brandenton, Fla.
"A little bit [frustrating]," Castro said. "I feel so good when I work, I'm working hard every day. I feel 100 percent every day and this thing happens now."
Javier Baez took over at shortstop on Sunday, and went 2-for-3. Castro chatted with him as Baez was leaving the facility.
"He's not down," Baez said. "He's taking it easy. It's only Spring Training. He wants to take care of his body."
Castro, along with Emilio Bonifacio, is being considered by manager Rick Renteria to be the Cubs' leadoff hitter.
"Starlin has the ability to put the bat on the ball pretty much anywhere," Renteria said. "He handles the bat, he can manipulate the barrel quite well. He could fit in the [No. 2] slot quite easy. He's a guy who was a 200-hit a year guy, so that's a lot of hits. Having a guy who can get on base whether through a walk or hit is pretty good."
Olt set for first action in field this spring
MESA, Ariz. -- Finally, Mike Olt will get on the field.
Olt has been limited to the designated-hitter role, as he nurses a tender right shoulder. He's scheduled to start at first base for the Cubs on Monday in a makeup "B" game against the Giants at Cubs Park.
While Olt has played more third than first, playing first should limit stress on his throwing shoulder. He says the soreness is normal for Spring Training.
"It's a little bit of a dead arm," Olt said. "I was working it too hard to get ready."
He much prefers playing than sitting.
"I'm not a huge fan of sitting on the bench and hitting," Olt said. "It'll be good to be back on the field and feel like you're part of the game."
The shoulder hasn't affected his hitting in batting practice or the games so far. Eventually, he'll get into a game at third. Olt, challenging for a spot on the Cubs' Major League roster, is eager to show he's ready.
"If I am healthy, I do know I belong in the big leagues," Olt said. "It's not a matter of thinking about making the big leagues, it's about going out there and doing my thing. Whatever happens, happens. When I do get the shot, I'll be ready."
Hammel will start Cubs' makeup with Giants
MESA, Ariz. -- After having two games canceled because of rain, the Cubs will play a makeup "B" game on Monday at 10 a.m. MT at Cubs Park against the Giants, with Jason Hammel getting the start.
Hammel, who signed a one-year, $6 million contract prior to Spring Training, will be making his Cubs debut in the game.
The Cubs were scheduled to play split-squad games on Saturday, but rain intervened. It was the Cubs Park grounds crew's first test with the tarp, and it didn't quite protect the area in shallow left, center or right.
"Unfortunately, [the tarp] just didn't cover the back side of the infield on the shortstop side, and it also didn't cover the backside of the second-base side," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said on Sunday. "So when it got pulled out, the water was draining off. It was kind of a double whammy. We were initially going to play it."
It would've taken at least one hour for the field to be playable, but Renteria said once the tarp was pulled, and they saw how extensive the water was, the game was called.
Travis Wood was scheduled to start the early Saturday game, but instead threw two innings on the side.
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.