By Bruce Levine-

(CBS) As of Friday, Cubs manager Rick Renteria wasn’t ready to commit to Starlin Castro returning to  game action this weekend, though Castro told reporters that he believes he could play as early as Saturday in his recovery from a hamstring injury.

Castro has been hobbled since March 2.

“He did well,” Renteria said. “He did all his running yesterday. Today he did all his fielding and hitting. We will see how he is progressing and go from there.”

The clock is working against Castro getting in enough reps to be ready for playing every day to start the season.

“We are going to try and get him some at bats at the minor leagues first,” Renteria said. “He will lead off every inning and try to get him in baseball shape. He has been doing a lot activity. Getting him out there and playing five or six innings is important for us .”

Dealing with 17 games in cold-weather cities to start the season might give the Cubs bosses some pause before throwing Castro out on the field every day. After missing three weeks with a hamstring injury, it makes little sense to rush arguably your most important player just to meet the goal of starting the season on the 25-man active roster.

Castro had an issue with a hamstring last spring, but after two weeks of inactivity he played 161 games without incident.

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.

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