Castro Says He’s Ready for Opener

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PHOENIX — Starlin Castro didn’t start Friday night, but he eased the minds of Cubs followers who wonder if his right hamstring will be healthy enough for him to play in the season opener against the Pirates Monday in Pittsburgh.

“I’m there,” Castro smiled. “Of course.”

He played in minor league games this week after missing nearly three weeks because of a strain. Both Castro and the Cubs described Friday as a recovery day after a hard week.

“They told me to take it easy and told me to do the normal stuff that I do,” Castro said. “I’ll play (Saturday).”

Castro said he played all nine innings of a minor league game Thursday in which his hamstring and defensive skills were tested.

“There was a slow ground ball to second base and I had to get to the back quick because the runner was coming at me,” Castro said. “I caught the ball and jumped and threw (to first base).

“I feel good. I don’t have any complaints. My preparation is pretty good. I do my other stuff to warm up before I do something and I feel great.”

Castro said he would take precautions before Monday’s opener at PNC Park, where temperatures are forecast for the high 50s.

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