Castro Sidelined, Arrieta Close to Throwing Off a Mound, Buckner Retires and Cubs Spring Training News

Rick Renteria announced Monday that Starlin Castro will miss 7-10 days with a mild right hamstring strain. Castro suffered the injury Sunday trying to steal second base in the first inning. Following the game against the Royals, Castro downplayed the injury and said it was not as bad as the one that cost him around two weeks last spring.

Renteria said Monday the injury is “similar to what happened to him last year.” Castro strained his left hamstring last spring.

CubsMesaLogo-pubWhile Castro is out, the Cubs will reportedly use Javier BaezEmilio Bonifacio, Darwin Barney, Arismendy Alcantara and Jeudy Valdez at shortstop. Barney’s days at shortstop for the Cubs was thought to be over, even in a backup role. Having Barney spend time at short this spring could increase his value to other teams.

Rick Renteria made it clear Monday that Starlin Castro should be ready to go on Opening Day.

Jake Arrieta

According to a report from Jesse Rogers, Jake Arrieta “says he’s ahead of schedule and ready to throw off a mound.” Arrieta told Rogers on Sunday morning he is moving “forward at a quicker pace than had originally been drawn up.”

Rogers reported Arrieta was scheduled to “play long toss Sunday then pitch off the mound” but maybe not the full 60 feet, six inches. Arrieta wants to feel the angle of pitching from a mound.

Jake Arrieta is still not ruling out being on the active roster on Opening Day.

Bill Buckner

The Boise Hawks announced Monday that Bill Buckner has retired from baseball and he will no longer be the hitting coach for the Boise Hawks. This is a loss for the organization.

As Tom reported, Buckner helped produce two Northwest League batting champions in Stephen Bruno and Kevin Encarnacion.

Mike Stafford, the Hawks’ play-by-play man, reported Buckner did an excellent job as the Hawks’ hitting coach. The Hawks had the youngest roster in the league the past two years and under Buckner’s watch, the Hawks finished with the highest team batting average in the league.

According to Mike Stafford, the Cubs have hired Jesus Feliciano to replace Buckner as the Hawks’ hitting coach and added Guillermo Martinez as a full-time bench coach.

Mike Olt

Mike Olt wants a shot to win the third base job according to a report from Comcast SportsNet. Olt made his first start in the field Monday. Olt played first base in the ‘B’ game against the Giants. Olt addressed his sore shoulder with Patrick Mooney and said he’s dealt with a dead arm before. He’s played through it in the past and seemed to downplay the injury. Olt pointed out his shoulder has gotten better “within the last 10 days.”

Olt told Mooney he is ready to go.

Rick Renteria said the team is “trying to get him healthy and comfortable and see how it falls into place and let time tell us through the spring what’s going to happen.”

Arodys Vizcaino

Arodys Vizcaino made his first appearance in the Cactus League on Monday afternoon … and looked very good in the eighth inning. Vizcaino says he is healthy and is certainly pitching like he is, at least to this point in Spring Training.

The Yankees gave up Vizcaino to the Braves in the Javier Vazquez deal and news of his performance in Spring Training has reached the New York Post’s Joel Sherman.

Vizcaino could be part of a hard throwing bullpen at some point this season. While Vizcaino would like to pitch his way onto the Cubs’ Opening Day roster this spring, even if he begins the year in Iowa’s pen at least he will be pitching.

News and Notes

Kyuji Fujikawa completed his third bullpen session Monday. And Chris Bosio was very happy with what he saw from his third session off a mound. According to a report from Carrie Muskat, Bosio said, “There are a lot of good signs for him.”

Alberto Cabrera is out of minor league options. If he doesn’t break camp on the active roster, the Cubs will likely lose him on waivers. The stuff is there but he struggles with repeating his delivery and throwing strikes. The Cubs are facing a dilemma with Cabrera according to Nick Cafardo.

Ryan Kalish is healthy and even with a good spring, he will likely begin the season with the Iowa Cubs according to a report from Nick Cafardo.

Jason Hammel knows how the Cubs operate at the trade deadline according to a report from Patrick Mooney. Chris Bosio has been pleased with the way Hammel has pitched so far in Spring Training.

Several of the Cubs’ minor league players are already in camp. Pitchers and catchers reported to minor league camp Sunday and the first full squad workouts at Cubs Park for the minor leaguers is Thursday, March 6. Minor League Spring Training games begin on March 13.

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Quote of the Day

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