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Starlin out seven to 10 days with hamstring strain

Manager Renteria believes Cubs' starting shortstop will be ready for regular season

MESA, Ariz. -- Starlin Castro will be sidelined seven to 10 days because of a mild right hamstring strain, an injury which should not hinder the shortstop from being ready for the regular season, Cubs manager Rick Renteria said Monday.

"From what we gathered, it's similar to what happened to him last year at this time," Renteria said of Castro's injury, suffered in the first inning Sunday when he tried to steal second. "It's seven to 10 days, and we're just being cautious with him. It shouldn't set him back for the regular season."

Castro was sidelined for two weeks last spring with a sore left hamstring. After Sunday's game, he said the injury suffered on Sunday was "not too bad, like last year" and that the team removed him as a precautionary measure. A year ago, Castro could barely walk after he was hurt.

"This doesn't seem to be anything like last year to the degree that it was," Renteria said. "He's walking around pretty good now."

The Cubs will give Emilio Bonifacio and Darwin Barney more starts at shortstop while Castro heals and also look at top prospect Javier Baez, who was 2-for-3 on Monday, hitting his first spring homer, in a 4-2 win over the Brewers. They also have infielders Arismendy Alcantara and Jeudy Valdez in camp.

"What it allows us to do is see other guys at that position and recognize if Barney can go over there, and [Bonifacio]," Renteria said. "It'll give guys playing time."

Shortstop is Barney's natural position, and he has taken grounders there since becoming the Cubs regular second baseman.

"They mentioned they might throw me over there a little bit," Barney said. "I don't look at it as a transition, but I look at it as just moving back over to short whenever I have to."

Castro spent more time this offseason on conditioning and reported to camp in good shape. The Cubs sent strength coach Tim Buss to the Dominican Republic for three weeks to work with the shortstop, who also spent four weeks at a training facility in Bradenton, Fla. Castro is coming off a season in which he batted a career-low .245.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Chicago Cubs, Starlin Castro