By Bruce Levine-
(CBS) Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro’s readiness for the start of the regular season will be determined next week.
Castro hasn’t played in a game since straining a hamstring on March 2. He declared himself 80 percent ready to resume full running today.
“I have been running hard,” Castro said Monday morning. “I am making progress, taking groundballs and hitting in the cage, too.”
Castro, who is coming off his worst major league season, worked exceedingly hard in the offseason on conditioning. The Cubs sent trainer Tim Buss to the Dominican Republic to work with Castro for 30 days last fall.
With only two weeks left in spring training, the team has been using Darwin Barney and Emilio Bonifacio at shortstop in case Castro isn’t ready for Opening Day on March 31.
“Tomorrow I will run the bases,” Castro said. “Maybe this week I will get some at bats in minor league games.”
Castro has made some strides in his rehab, saying he’s gone from 40 to 80 percent healthy in four days.
“Yeah, things have been going really good,” Castro said. “I started running really hard (over the weekend ) and haven’t hurt anything.”
“I think eight games, maybe 10 games (to be ready),” he added. “I will be good, I am working hard. I know I will be very good by Opening Day. After I play (some) games here to be ready, I think I will be fine Opening Day.”
Castro missed two weeks with a strain of the opposite hamstring last March and eventually played 161 games in 2013. He has only missed five games in the last three seasons.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.