As the Chicago Cubs continue to find the perfect masterpiece for all of their young prospects, the first monkey wrench may have just been thrown into the picture over the weekend. During Spring Training play, Starlin Castro had to leave a game early due to a hamstring strain. While the injury does not appear to be serious, as Castro should only miss about two weeks, it will also create more playing time for the guys around him. One of those guys likely to step in is one Javier Baez, the No. 7 prospect in MLB.
When Opening Day rolls around, the Cubs project to be carrying six infielders on the roster. With Castro and Anthony Rizzo locked into spots that leaves just four slots remaining. In the mix competing for spots are Mike Olt, Luis Valbuena, Donnie Murphy, Logan Watkins and newcomer Emilio Bonifacio. Also, Darwin Barney could be the starting second baseman, unless something comes from trade rumors involving the New York Yankees.
With Castro on the sidelines, Baez, Bonifacio and Arismendy Alcantara will get plenty of action in the middle of the diamond for Chicago to try and impress. If either Baez or Alcantara impresses well enough, could it lead to a spot on the Opening Day roster? The Cubs’ organization is on record as stating that no player will be rushed to the big-leagues, but seeing a name like Baez finally get the call could be a jolt to the team and fanbase that cannot be ignored. The question has to be asked, does this speed up the arrival of Baez if Castro continues to be sidelined?
The injury to Castro is a small cause for concern. But it also provides an opportunity for the other pieces to potentially be put into place around him. Who knows, by the time Castro is ready to return, there could be a trade in the works and a prospect firmly slotted into the Cubs’ lineup. Ten days is plenty of time to piece together a puzzle and turn it into a masterpiece.
Nick Schaeflein is a Chicago Cubs writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google.