(MCT) — MESA, Ariz. — The Chicago Cubs have had their share of heartbreaking spring training injuries, including Kerry Wood’s season-ending elbow injury in 1999 and Mark Prior’s Achilles tendon injury in 2004.
So when Starlin Castro pulled up lame while running to first in the fourth inning of Wednesday’s Cactus League game against the Dodgers, most of the crowd of 4,572 feared the worst.
“It was not a good (first) thought,” manager Dale Sveum said. “He pulled up quite a bit. I didn’t know if it was a knee. When most guys do it, they grab (the leg). He was just kind of hobbling. Thank God, it doesn’t seem to be a big deal at all.”
Castro was pulled from the game. The Cubs said he is day-to-day with left hamstring tightness.
In a spring that already has seen Ian Stewart out with a quad strain and Matt Garza’s ailing side delaying his elbow rehab, losing Castro for any significant time would be devastating.
Was it scary?
“Yeah,” Castro said. “I feel too good this year to start the season hurt. The trainer took care of me. It’s not bad. I feel like when you have a charley horse, not like it’s (strained) or anything like that.”
Castro was trying to beat out an infield single to shortstop Dee Gordon when he slowed down and began limping toward first.
“I was close to first base and I felt it when I touched the base,” Castro said.
The Cubs trainer came out to talk to Castro, and Castro was pulled.
Castro said he never has had a hamstring injury, and he never has spent time on the disabled list. He’s tentatively scheduled to be in Thursday’s lineup against the A’s, but that figures to change. Either way, Sveum and Castro said he’s unlikely to be out long.
Sveum said “before today, I don’t even know if he stepped on a foot in the training room” for an injury.
“He’s one of those resilient kids who loves to play the game, and stays healthy,” Sveum said.
Did Castro ask to stay in the game?
“No,” Sveum said. “He was kind of like saying, ‘Well, let me see.’ I was like, ‘Nah, you’re getting out of there. (The game) doesn’t matter.’”
Castro received a lot of texts from friends asking about his status. He said he still wants to play 162 games this year. Castro came into camp in great shape, hoping to improve on last year’s performance, saying he did a lot of running in the offseason in the Dominican and couldn’t understand how this could happen.
“I feel ready to make some good things happen this year,” he said.
Sveum said Castro was supposed to get only two at-bats, but “begged” him for a third in the fourth inning.
“And look what happened,” he said with a grin.
Castro laughed when reminded what he told Sveum.
“Next time, two (at-bats),” he said.