We’re not even out of Spring Training yet and the Chicago Cubs already find themselves in a bit of trouble. With Starlin Castro coming into the new season hoping to rebound, it would appear that his rebound campaign is going to be put on hold for even longer. After looking strong out of the gate in spring exhibitions, Castro hasn’t played in a game since March 2nd due to a hamstring injury. Don’t expect to see him back on the field anytime soon, either.
Multiple reports have stated that Castro will likely be held out of the lineup indefinitely due to a buildup of fluid where he experienced the injury. Initially only expected to be out about a week, Castro is going on two and may not be ready to go until next week. While this injury isn’t something that’s going to cost him the year in terms of time on the disabled last, at least at this point, nagging injuries have the potential to snowball over the course of a season.
Castro isn’t in a position where he can afford to be missing time, either. While he’s not exactly fighting for a roster spot, top prospect Javier Baez is banging on the Major League door. Castro is in a position where he needs to come back in a big way, especially coming off of the type of year he had last year.
The 2013 season was Starlin Castro’s worst in the bigs, as he tried to make constant adjustments, both in terms of his mechanics and his approach at the plate. With so many voices in his head, Castro reached base at an average of just .284, with his actual batting average at just .245. His strikeout rate jumped up, four percent higher than the previous year, and he walked less. Whatever the Cubs were hoping he’d achieve, he obviously did not.
With a fresh start in the upcoming campaign, and a solid beginning to spring training, Castro’s stock appeared to be pointing up. But injuries like this have the ability to nag throughout a season and have an impact on performance. The Cubs are obviously being careful in hopes of avoiding this with Starlin Castro, but one would have to imagine that they’re wary of that very scenario playing out in 2014.