3/25/2014 2:09 P.M. ET
Olt could land roster spot with strong showing at third
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
MESA, Ariz. -- If Mike Olt can show he can handle third base, he could be on the Cubs' Opening Day roster.
The Cubs have eight infielders still in camp, including Olt, Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro, Donnie Murphy, Anthony Rizzo, Luis Valbuena, Ryan Roberts and Emilio Bonifacio. Olt, Murphy and Valbuena are the options at third.
Tuesday was Olt's fourth game in the field. He had been limited to playing first base and designated hitter early in Cactus League games because of a tender right shoulder. On Sunday, Olt made two errors in one inning at third.
"He just has to keep working out there and shaking that [rust] and he'll be fine," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said Tuesday.
The shoulder appears to be fine.
"It's like anything -- if he's had some issues in the past, it's something you're aware of and can manage it," Renteria said.
The bigger question regarding Olt has been whether he's fully recovered from vision problems that slowed him last season. He batted .213 in 65 games at Triple-A Round Rock, and the Rangers were willing to include him in the package of players for Matt Garza last July.
His eyesight appears to be fine.
"He's really seeing the ball well," Renteria said. "He's obviously putting a charge into the baseball. He's looked like the guy from the offensive side that everybody expected to see a few years ago."
Renteria wasn't ready to commit to the final 25-man roster yet. The Cubs will likely use several lineups over the regular season. Asked if Darwin Barney was the starting second baseman, Renteria didn't say yes, but didn't say no.
"I think as we go into the season, we have certain guys who are going to be put in a particular position, and on the second day, you might see a different lineup," Renteria said. "The reality is the matchups we have and that we're looking at throughout the course of the season will determine how we use all our guys.
"I'm fortunate enough to have the flexibility of guys and matchups for different scenarios that can occur over the course of the season," he said. "I want to put them in the best position to have success."
Castro making progress toward Opening Day
MESA, Ariz. -- The Cubs' Starlin Castro will play shortstop and get six or seven at-bats in a Minor League game on Wednesday as he continues to make progress from a strained right hamstring, and he predicts he'll be ready for Opening Day.
Castro played in the field Monday in a Minor League game, the first time he was at shortstop since he was injured March 2 while running the bases. On Tuesday, he took batting practice and did agility drills, getting tested in every direction, Cubs manager Rick Renteria said.
"I'm totally comfortable with his health," Renteria said. "He's 100 percent."
Castro feels the same. He should get into one of the Cubs' final Cactus League games before the season opener on Monday in Pittsburgh.
"That's what I'm looking for -- I don't want to miss Opening Day," Castro said. "I think we put good work together and we're working pretty hard. That's my goal. I think I'll be all right."
Now, it's a matter of getting Castro in baseball shape. The Cubs want to wait and see how he feels after Wednesday before deciding if he'll get in a Cactus League game.
"I feel a little tired, but not tired like I can't do anything," he said after Tuesday's workout.
Castro won't get as many at-bats as past springs. Renteria has talked about using the shortstop as the leadoff man.
"I'm already ready," Castro said. "I have plenty of time. I'll take some pitches here in the Minor Leagues, hitting every inning. When the season starts, it's all me, ready to go."
Cautious Ruggiano sits with swollen ankle
MESA, Ariz. -- If it was the regular season, Justin Ruggiano would be in the Cubs' lineup, but instead he will be careful with his left ankle, which was swollen when he woke up Tuesday.
Ruggiano was scratched from the Cubs' lineup against the Angels, but he didn't think the problem was serious.
"I just woke up a little swollen, not comfortable to run around on now," Ruggiano said. "Given the fact that we're a week out [before the season starts], I want to give it one day. I'll be fine tomorrow."
Ruggiano, who was going to get some hitting in the cages Tuesday, will get treatment Tuesday to take care of the inflammation in his ankle.
"I think what I did was break up some old scar tissue," he said of the problem. "There was no [ankle] roll, nothing that happened.
"It felt good yesterday," he said. "I did it before the game. Played the whole game, felt good, went home, you sleep for 12 hours, 10 hours, and then it has time for the swelling to set in. That's all it is now, it's just swollen."
So if this was the regular season, he'd be playing?
"Definitely," he said.
Veras allowing runs, but Cubs not concerned
MESA, Ariz. -- Maybe all Jose Veras needs is a save situation to get on track.
The Cubs' closer gave up two runs on three hits and one walk in one inning on Monday night, and now has served up a run in half of his eight appearances this spring.
"'V' knows how to get himself ready," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "If you guys have seen most closers during the spring, they don't typically have the best outings.
"I'm not concerned. He's got one or two more outings left this spring, and he can zone in. When the lights turn on with those guys, it's a different ballgame."
The Cubs had talked about having Veras pitch in a late-inning situation this spring, but they have yet to do so. He pitched the top of the fifth inning Monday.
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.