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Cubs notes: Castro, Fujikawa progressing

3/23/2014

MESA, Ariz. -- Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro had no ill effects from his at-bats in a minor league game on Saturday and will hit again on Sunday before trying to play defense.

While Castro will get another round of at-bats on Sunday, he won’t play shortstop or run hard on the bases as he continues to recover from a hamstring strain that’s held him out of action since March 2. Minor league games allow for a player to hit every inning but not play the field. Castro got six at-bats on Saturday and most likely will do the same on Sunday.

If Sunday goes as well as Saturday, Castro will play the field in a minor league game this week before attempting to play in a Cactus League game before camp breaks on Friday. On Saturday Castro declared he would be ready for opening day, and Cubs manager Rick Renteria hasn’t wavered from that notion as well.

Fujikawa throws: Injured reliever Kyuji Fujikawa threw 45 pitches on Sunday as he continues to recover from Tommy John surgery.

“He’s slowly graduating to finally getting out there for live batting practice,” Renteria said Sunday morning. “He’s moving along. It’s good. It’s real good.”

Roster at 35: The Cubs optioned pitcher Neil Ramirez to Triple-A Iowa on Sunday. The also granted pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada his unconditional release, bringing their roster down to 35.