Checking in on some of the ongoing injury stories around Cubs’ camp …
- Still no hard-and-fast update on Starlin Castro’s return to baseball action, though Rick Renteria sounded very positive during yesterday’s game on CSN. He said that Castro is up to 95% or maybe even 100%, and that the Cubs will hope to get him into game action within the next few days. The Cubs open a week from Monday, and if Castro isn’t full speed in game action by this weekend, it’ll be fair to worry that he might be a little behind when the season starts (even if he doesn’t start on the DL). Obviously you have to take a long view with this stuff, and the last thing you want to do is cause him to miss a month of the regular season because you were pushing him to return too quickly in March.
- Jake Arrieta will throw a two-inning simulated game today (Cubs.com), which could put him in position for game action next week. Let’s give him four starts to build up his pitch count, starting next Wednesday, March 26, and Arrieta could be back right around April 15/16. If so, he’d have missed just two regular season starts.
- Those starts are likely to be picked up by one of Carlos Villanueva or Chris Rusin, as James McDonald comes back from his shoulder tendinitis issue. The good news on McDonald is that he is feeling much better since he had to leave his start on Monday after just two pitches. He could actually throw as soon as today. (Tribune) That said, don’t expect to see McDonald pitching for the Cubs in the very early part of the season. With a shoulder issue derailing his season last year, I’d think the Cubs will be extremely cautious with McDonald now (and, given the pitching depth, they’ve got that luxury).
- No convalescing necessary, apparently, for Javier Baez after his collision with Anthony Giansanti in the outfield on Wednesday. Knowing how important those wrists are (they should be insured by Lloyd’s of London), I was pretty much crapping my pants as he gingerly tried to take off his glove and then the trainer tested Baez’s left wrist. Again, though, Baez stayed in the game, and everyone seems to think there’s no issue whatsoever here. (Cubs.com)
- I wonder if a back issue has derailed Casper Wells’ chances of making the Cubs’ roster. Given his right-handed bat, versatility in the outfield, and penchant for crushing lefties, Wells actually had a pretty good chance of making the roster, depending on how the outfield alignment shakes out. With Ryan Kalish playing so well, however, and Wells dealing with back spasms, I’m not sure he’ll actually be able to stick at this point. You throw in the fact that Mike Olt could cloud the picture further, and the fact that Emilio Bonifacio’s presence could allow the Cubs to carry just four outfielders, and it just doesn’t look good for Wells.