Injuries consuming Sveum's time

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- With a little more than three weeks until Opening Day, Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum seems to spend as much time with the team training staff as he does with his coaches.

Two of the Cubs' star players are injured and other players they are counting on have some medical issues.

Sveum hopes to get shortstop Starlin Castro back in the lineup within the next four or five days.

"We are looking at Sunday or Monday," Sveum said.

Pitcher Matt Garza, who has been out since Feb. 17 with a sore left side, is starting to make some progress toward getting back to pitching again but will start the season on the disabled list.

"Talking to the trainer and him (Tuesday he) was the most upbeat he's been and the best he felt," Sveum said. "Now that it is going in the right direction, hopefully by the end of the weekend we will get him out to try and toss again."

Third baseman Ian Stewart has yet to play this spring and is nursing a strained quad as is infielder Josh Vitters. Utilityman Brent Lilibridge came up lame on Tuesday with a sore groin.

"It was nice before he got hurt. I got to see him at (four infield positions)," Sveum said. "Toward the end of spring he will play a little outfield as well."

Sveum has his theory as to why the injury factor is more of concern in this era of baseball.

"Injuries are probably more prevalent just because there are so many more guys lifting weights," Sveum said. "When I started playing you did not lift weights and there were not a lot of pulled muscles. They were afraid to lift weights just for that reason. You never wanted to lose your job in spring training or not make a team because of a pulled muscle."

Opening Day starter Jeff Samardzija pitched four innings in a B game Wednesday morning against the Texas Rangers, giving up five hits and three earned runs along with three strikeouts and two walks.

"He was working on some stuff he wouldn't do in a regular game," Sveum said. "His secondary stuff was good. He was getting a lot of strike one. He was getting too much of the plate with his fastball."