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Monday, March 11, 2013
Starlin Castro likely back Wednesday

By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro is expected to return to the lineup on Wednesday after missing two weeks because of a strained left hamstring.

Manager Dale Sveum said Castro likely will start on Wednesday and play four or five innings against the Colorado Rockies. The 22-year-old All-Star has been out of the lineup since Feb. 27 when he injured his hamstring running out a ground ball in a Cactus League game.

Castro, who has has been taking ground balls and some batting practice while working with team trainers, wanted to play over the weekend, but the Cubs opted for a more conservative approach.

Castro isn't the only Cubs player making his way back this week from injury. Utilityman Brent Lillibridge should return Wednesday after missing time with a sore groin and third basemen Ian Stewart and Josh Vitters are expected to make their spring debuts this week after being sidelined with quad injuries.

Stewart hasn't played since injuring his quad in an intrasquad game before Cactus League play began last month. He's been taking batting practice but finally ran the bases without an issue on Monday morning. Stewart and Vitters will repeat those exercises on Wednesday and Sveum said if all goes well both will get into games on Thursday and Friday.

Sveum isn't concerned about the amount of time they have missed this spring.

"There's plenty of time now," Sveum said. "We were a little bit worried it would be next week but everything has gotten a little bit quicker."

When asked what Stewart needs to do when he gets back in the lineup, Sveum said: "Production."

Pitcher Matt Garza threw 25 tosses from 45 feet on Monday and he'll repeat that on Wednesday barring any setbacks from a lat injury which has prevented him from pitching. Garza has already been ruled out for the first month of the regular season and there still is no timetable for him to pitch in a Cactus League game.