3/5 Extra bases

* Starlin Castro was able to run and took some ground balls at shortstop on Tuesday, continuing to progress from a tight left hamstring that has sidelined him for one week. Castro was not expected to get into a game until Monday.

“It’s kind of a non-issue now,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “Because we have the luxury to do it, we’re going to make sure he’s completely healthy, even though he’s completely healthy now. He’ll get plenty of playing time going into the season so there’s no reason to rush it.”

* There was no controversy over using the designated hitter on Tuesday for the Cubs-Rockies game. On Monday, the Reds and D-backs had some miscommunication that got a little ugly, but Cubs manager Dale Sveum said bench coach Jamie Quirk doublechecks. Tuesday was the first day the Cubs did not use the designated hitter.

“It’s time for those guys to start hitting,” Sveum said. “Even if it’s one at-bat, at least they see pitching.”

Feldman did fine in his only at-bat, and collected the first Cubs hit off Jeff Francis with two outs in the third.

* Hisanori Takahashi, competing for a spot in the bullpen, will start on Wednesday when the Cubs travel to Surprise to face the Rangers. Takahashi has appeared in three games in relief so far this spring, giving up one run on three hits over four innings. Junior Lake will start in center field and Javier Baez at shortstop. If you get to Surprise early, Jeff Samardzija will be pitching against the Rangers in a “B” game at 10 a.m. MT. The game will be broadcast on Cubs.com.

* The Cubs are still sorting out the rotation for the start of the season. Samardzija will kick things off April 1 against the Pirates and be followed by Edwin Jackson. Scott Feldman may start the third game, but that could change. Feldman has faced Pittsburgh twice in his career, and given up six runs on 14 hits over 7 2/3 innings. Carlos Villanueva and Travis Wood round out the rotation.

– Carrie Muskat

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