gods-benevolenceIt’s not always bad news when it comes to Chicago Cubs injuries. Of course, even the “good” news is merely “acceptable” news, and you still regard it cautiously.

First, there’s Starlin Castro, who left yesterday’s game with a mild right hamstring strain after a failed stolen base attempt. Last year, when he strained his left hamstring, Castro missed two weeks of Spring action, but started the year on-time, and played in every game (save for the one day he got off to collect his thoughts). This time around, Castro doesn’t think the strain is even that serious.

“It’s not too bad like last year,” Castro told Cubs.com, adding that he can walk normally, whereas last year he could not. “We don’t want to take a chance. It’s early right now. You take a couple days to get better.”

I guess I won’t be seeing Castro on my Spring Training trip this year, but if he’s back in action by next week, I won’t complain about it. Well, given that this means I might get to see a little more Javy Baez, I probably won’t complain either way.

And then there’s Jake Arrieta, slowed this Spring by some tightness in his shoulder, who tells Jesse Rogers that things are going well.

“We’ve moved forward at a quicker pace then we initially had drawn up which is good,” Arrieta said. The expectation is that Arrieta will throw long toss today, and then his next step will be throwing off of the mound.

Although it remains technically possible that Arrieta could be ready for the start of the season (particularly with the obligatory off-day after Opening Day, which would allow the Cubs to skip the fifth starter the first time through the rotation), I think we’ll see him start on the disabled list, even if all goes well from here. With James McDonald and Carlos Villanueva already virtually guaranteed spots on the Opening Day roster, and with each a theoretical flip candidate, there’s little incentive to rush Arrieta, even if you weren’t concerned about further injury. April is cold, man. If Arrieta misses a couple weeks, it’ll be just fine for everyone involved.

UPDATE: Rick Renteria just met with the media and told them that Castro will be out for seven to ten days, with Darwin Barney and Emilio Bonifacio getting some time at shortstop (among others, presumably). I’m mid-flight, so I’ll get you the full quotes when I can. I’m guessing this is all just an “abundance of caution, long Spring” kind of thing. Still no huge worries on my end.

  • jp3

    I wouldn’t be crushed in a already determined lost season to get a sneak peak of some Baez either… Don’t hurry back castro

    • itzscott

      You guys are nuts to underestimate what the importance of a healthy and a prior to last season hitting Castro is to the Cubs!

      Without Castro, Baez only replaces Castro and it becomes basically a hampster running on a treadmill going nowhere.

      Castro AND Baez adds another key piece that replaces a non-contributing lineup slot and likely also makes Rizzo better.

      • Jason P

        No one’s saying that Castro isn’t important, just that in meaningless Spring games it’s more entertaining to see the top prospects play.

        • ssckelley

          Keep in mind you are replying to someone that has gotten pretty worked up over the ST losses.

          • itzscott

            Admittedly Yes… But only because I feel the need to see Something/Anything from this team that shows improvement and gives me a clue that the Cubs are going forward, the plan is working and they’re not treading water or regressing (like they did last season)

            • jp3

              Yeah I definitely wasn’t saying I’d prefer Baez over Castro just that in ST who the F cares. As long as Castro gets his work in it doesn’t really matter and it gives Baez some good competition against Major League talent more than he’ll get at AAA.

              • itzscott

                My point is not to minimize the importance of Castro to the Cubs.

                Without him, the Cubs go backwards. Just look what happened last year when he was basically MIA.

                • jp3

                  He missed one game and he was pretty bad last year. What’s your point again? He missed the one game because he was terrible. I don’t think wanting to see Baez play means everyone here wants Castro to go away. Everyone would love to see a Baez coming out experience and a Castro bounce back year.

  • andyb

    I’ve been checking this site since last season, and this is the firs God’s benevolence I have seen. it’s refreshing to see something going (kinda) the Cubs way. Maybe they’re turning a corner? right? maybe? hopefully?

  • roz
  • Darth Ivy

    I wonder if God is a cardinals fan


    • ssckelley

      or the Cardinals have sold their souls.

      • josh ruiter

        They hail from a state named Missouri (pronounced “misery”)…of course they sold their souls!

      • Darth Ivy

        Heaven must be packed with Cubs fans!

        James 1:12

      • md8232

        Cards fans have souls?
        You are just trolling now:-)

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Well, that says a lot about the Yankees then.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Out 7-10 days translates to slow start regular season meaning won’t be full stride assuming no setback until May- why wasn’t he in playing shape when reported especially after poor 2013? Enough of excuses- this kid has been and always will be a head case.. First decent offer from the Yankees Castro Shark package- take it!!!

    • Jon

      I know it’s you just being you, but the Yankees literally have no minor league package conceivable that could land Castro and Shark.

    • DarthHater


      • cavemancubbie


    • DocPeterWimsey

      That might have been true in the 1950’s. However, spring training is 4 weeks longer than it needs to be for modern players. A guy can come back in the last week and be fine for the regular season (and probably bored already, too.)

    • 70’s Cub

      Die your nuts, look at the amount of games played per year before you call Castro a slacker.

      • DarthHater

        I think you must have meant either “Die, you’re nuts” or “Dye your nuts.” Either way, “Die your nuts” makes no sense. 😀

        • Jon

          Maybe it’s German for “The nuts, The”

          • DarthHater

            Die ür nüsse

          • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman


  • Eternal Pessimist

    I love the opportunity for Barney to play some SS. Great way to showcase him for an upcoming trade and will take some of the pressure off Baez with him sliding to 2nd base sometimes.

  • Fastball

    I have to laugh at the comment about not showing up in shape. these guys are in better shape than players in the past would ever dream to be in at the start of ST. Back in the day many of the players had a winter job and never worked out before ST. ST is to get in shape for a long baseball season. I think a lot of guys do too much all year round and the gas tank is empty when the hot weather hits. I am a proponent of never picking up a bat or ball in the off season. Play golf or something else. Get as far away from baseball as you can in the off season.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Nolan Ryan really hit on that well in his HoF speech, when he took a couple of minutes to thank Marvin Miller. Ryan noted that before the first big CBA, he (Ryan) and all other big-leaguers really were semi-professional athletes. It was thanks to Miller’s efforts that big-league ballplayers were able to become full-time athletes who could condition themselves all year round. Indeed, by the 1980’s, teams were telling players to take a month off after the season or around the holidays, as working out 12 months a year is actually too much.

      This is why ST is now much too long. The length has become like some vestigial organ that served a purpose long ago, but now just sits there because variants completely deleting it haven’t arisen. Of course, it’s a correlation issue now: teams make money from ST games and from that portion of the fan base that is analogous to the “DeadHeads” for rock bands. Because the length of ST is tied to the $$$, it is going to stay that way.

      • TWC

        “… and from that portion of the fan base that is analogous to the “DeadHeads” for rock bands.”

        Preeeeeeeetty sure that Deadheads were a reliable draw for one band in particular, not just rock bands in general.

        • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

          TWC I think it’s time to bring the old avatar out of retirement

          • miggy80

            T-Dub’s old avatar was awesome.

          • TWC

            I would actually consider that, but I’ve forgotten my gravatar password.

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