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Extra bases

Darwin Barney will make his first start at shortstop on Thursday, when the Cubs travel to Goodyear, Ariz., to face the Indians at 2:05 p.m. CT. A natural shortstop, Barney moved to second base full time in 2011.

The Cubs are trying different players at short while Starlin Castro heals from a strained right hamstring that he suffered March 2. Castro, who was expected to be ready by Opening Day, will be sidelined at least one week with the injury.

On Wednesday vs. the Rockies, top prospect Javier Baez started at short.

• Cubs manager Rick Renteria met with Minor League players and took part in their workout on Wednesday, throwing batting practice and watching some of the young pitchers.

"For the most part, I think all the [Minor League] coaches and players appreciate when the big league coaches and manager go down there," Renteria said. "We're all the same organization. There's no difference between us other than where we're at."

Thursday is when the Cubs' Minor Leaguers will begin full-squad workouts, with games scheduled to start March 13.

• There are no immediate plans to make any roster moves, Renteria said. The Cubs have split-squad games on Friday and March 15-17.

"We're just taking it day by day right now," Renteria said.

Anthony Rizzo was 2-for-2 off a left-handed pitcher on Tuesday. He batted .189 off lefties last season.

"His opposite-field approach in general should allow him to transition against lefties a little better," Renteria said of the first baseman, who will be the Cubs' designated hitter on Thursday.

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