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Ian Stewart takes some swings in cage

MESA, Ariz. -- Chicago Cubs third baseman Ian Stewart, who strained his left hamstring a week ago, tried hitting in the cage on Saturday.

Cubs manager Dale Sveum does not expect to see Stewart in action until mid-March.

“It is very frustrating,” Stewart said. “I worked hard this offseason and spent a lot of time away from my family going back and forth to North Carolina. I guess if there is anything positive it would be to be hurt this time of year when it does not take you from any meaningful games.”

Stewart has a one-year contract worth $2 million in 2013. The Cubs have the option to rescind the contract by mid-March and only owe 20 percent of the money.

“That is the last thing I want to think about,” Stewart said. “I have such a great relationship with Theo (Epstein) and the front office, so I trust them.”

Baez’s start: The Cubs’ top draft pick in 2011, Javier Baez, is making a strong impression. The staff is most impressed by his amazingly quick hand speed and his power.

Baez hit his first home run on Sunday but was happier with a base on balls he coaxed the following at-bat.

“That was a big at-bat there,” he said. “I was just trying to get a good pitch to hit but I took the walk.”

Baez has been getting more playing time with Starlin Castro, who has a tight hamstring, being held out of games as a precaution. Castro will not play in a Cactus League game before Tuesday.

Jackson’s day: Edwin Jackson, the Cubs’ No. 2 starter behind Jeff Samardzija, had some early control issues before completing a two-inning start on Sunday.

Jackson moves up in the rotation with both Scott Baker and Matt Garza slated to start the year on the DL.

“It is just a matter of finding a groove and stop being herky-jerky out there,” said Jackson, who allowed two runs Sunday. “You try to get your work in. Obviously you want to go three innings, but I threw a lot of pitches in the first inning.”