3/2 Castro: “I don’t want to rush”

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 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-March 13. He said the pain on Sunday wasn’t as severe.

“Last year, I couldn’t walk [after he was hurt] 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 and the Cubs’ top prospect chatted as Baez was leaving the facility.

“He’s not down,” Baez said of Castro. “He’s taking it easy. It’s only Spring Training. He wants to take care of his body.”

– Carrie Muskat

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