Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum has dealt with enough injuries to know that he can’t rush any of his players back during spring training. That’s especially true for Starlin Castro, who suffered mild inflammation in his left hamstring on Feb. 27. At that time, the injury was diagnosed as day-to-day.
It’s Mar. 5. Castro hasn’t returned. At the earliest, the Cubs don’t expect him back until Mar. 9. Until then, Castro will take part in light drills, fielding groundballs and batting practice.
Patience is a good thing. The Cubs have already seen what happened to Matt Garza. On two separate occasions, Garza was initially diagnosed with injuries that they expected to heal within a week. He ended up missing multiple months from a stress reaction in his elbow and a strained lat. His strained lat will force him to start the 2013 MLB season on the disabled list.
Castro’s injury is a tad concerning because of Garza-like incidents. I’m giving Sveum the benefit of the doubt that he won’t bring his two-time All Star back too quickly. It’s better for this injury to have occurred in February than during the regular season. If needed, Castro has one month to recover for the Apr. 1 opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Don’t forget that from Apr. 3 through May 5, the Cubs play 32 games in 33 days. Their only off-day comes on Apr. 15. It’s imperative that Sveum rests his players accordingly. Players such as Ian Stewart who have nagging injuries (e.g. quad strains) will probably need extra rest during that stretch. That’s assuming he makes the roster.