starlin castro throwingGood news on the Starlin Castro recovery front: the Cubs’ starting shortstop played again today in a minor league game at Spring Training, and he actually played shortstop.

It also sounds like he was running at basically full speed, and he could be back in a big league Spring Training game within a couple days.

Here are some of the important bits from the folks talking to Castro and manager Rick Renteria:

It tentatively sounds like Castro will take batting practice tomorrow and do some field work, will play in a minor league game (full systems go) on Wednesday, and then, if he still feels and looks good, he could be ready to play in a big league Spring game on Thursday. From there, the Cubs have only two exhibition games against the Diamondbacks left before Opening Day. Three games isn’t much, but it’s probably enough to get Castro ready, considering the at bats he’s been getting in minor league games.

Also, Castro turned 24 today. Is that the threshold where a guy is no longer really young? It still seems pretty young. Still young enough to dream on a little bit of upside, anyway – particularly if he turns things around this year.

  • ssckelley

    Only 24 and already 692 career hits.

  • hansman

    That should mean lake turns 24 pretty soon. Iirc

    • Brett

      3 days.

  • Dingo

    Underwood injured in the first inning with an unknown injury according to Arizona Phil at that game.

    • Brett

      Ugh. Obviously with tons of prospects, the injuries are going to happen, but I hate it every time. Hopefully it’s minor.

      This reminds me that I am really interest to hear about the returns of Josh Conway and Ryan McNeil this year at some point.

      • Luke


        Conway, by some accounts, had the best fastball in the Cubs draft that year. Even if he only comes back as a reliever there is a lot of potential there. Looking forward to what McNeil can do as well. Had a nice K/9 in his very limited time before getting hurt, but he had some control questions (like most high school pitchers).

      • Kyle

        Honestly, I’m surprised we haven’t had more. It’s been an unusually healthy spring, especially compared to the bloodbath of the rest of the league.

    • NorthSideIrish

      Ugh. That would be really disappointing. You could make the case that Underwood had the highest ceiling of any pitcher they drafted that year and he was just 17. I’d heard he showed up in much better shape this season, so a setback would be a shame if he was starting to figure it out.

      Conway said on Twitter that he’s been in Arizona since January and that his arm feels great. I had high hopes for him too.

      • Mike Moody

        There’s a reason you address pitching with volume.

  • David

    Brett/ Luke – anyone have a Dillon Maples update??

    • Luke

      Looked much better late in his stint with Boise at the end of last year as he settled into his new mechanics. Still offers two plus pitches (fastball and curve) with the potential for three.

      He could stand to make up some ground this season, and he needs to show that with the new mechanics polished he can continue to consistently throw strikes against tougher competition, but he still has one of the higher upsides in the system.

      There is a lot of risk with Maples, but there is still front of the rotation potential there.

      I have not heard anything good or bad from his spring, but if all goes well I’d expect him to start in the Kane County rotation. With any luck a second half promotion to Daytona will be in the cards.

      • David

        Man… seems like he’s been in the system forever. ETA: 2017? 2016 with luck?

        • Luke

          2016 seems reasonable.

  • NorthSideIrish

    Jason Parks ‏@ProfessorParks 2m
    Writing up notes on Albert Almora, Lendy Castillo, Junior Lake, and Zach Cates for tomorrow’s backfield scouting article. #Cubs

    More Parks goodness tomorrow…if you’re into that kind of thing.

    • Luke

      If Cates can throw strikes more consistently, he could yet be a potent bullpen arm.

      • NorthSideIrish

        Jason Parks ‏@ProfessorParks 2h
        #RHP Zach Cates pitched the 9th for the #Cubs in the AA game. Worked 93-94 w/ the FB; SL topped out at 88 mph! Didn’t love the mechs, though

        I don’t remember him throwing quite that hard, but the Cubs really are amassing some power arms for the pen.

        • Kyle

          That’s more or less where he’s always been. Works around there, touches 98. Just no idea where it is going.

  • http://BN Sacko

    Remember last year it seemed like almost every time Lake hit a HR toward the end of the year he sat the next day? He is sitting tonite.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Top High School pitching prospect Dylan Cease has elbow issues. Sounds like the cubs could swoop in the 2nd-3rd rnd if they can afford to sign him with cap space? Committed to Vandy. He’s a concensus 1st rnd talent with an that hit the upper 90’s easily and he’s only in HS. Still projection left also. Big time upside but size able risk.

    It will most likely take at least near 1st rnd signing bonus to lure him a way from his vandy. I’m sure before the elbow issue plenty of teams would take him in the first rnd and pony up the $ but now with elbow issue (won’t need any surgery) it might be safer for him to wait and bet on himself to get a larger pay day after a few years of college at a premier program.