Castro expects to be ready for opener

MESA, Ariz. -- Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro said he’ll play in a minor league game Saturday while also saying he expects to be ready for Opening Day. Castro has been out of the lineup since March 2 with a hamstring injury suffered while sliding into second base.

“I’ll take four, five, maybe six (at-bats),” Castro said Saturday morning.

Manager Rick Renteria also indicated that Castro would play in a second minor league contest Sunday and then reassess his progress.

Castro said he won’t play the field nor will he run full speed out of the batter’s box, though he’ll do some base-running drills after the game. Minor league games are played on the Cubs' practice fields in a more controlled environment. A player can bat in every inning if the team desires, and Castro plans on taking advantage of the opportunity.

Asked if this means he’ll be ready for season opener March 31 in Pittsburgh, Castro responded, “Yeah, I think so. I’ll be alright.”

Castro couldn’t put a timetable on if and when he would participate in a Cactus League game. Including Sunday, the Cubs have eight days of games left before the regular season begins. Castro doesn’t want any days off between now and then.

“I don’t know if they'll give it to me, but I don’t want it,” he said. “I don’t want to stop my routine.”