Cubs’ Starlin Castro returns to lineup, focused on fielding

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MESA – All-Star shortstop Starlin Castro is back in the lineup Wednesday against the Seattle Mariners for the first time since experiencing groin tightness in a game Thursday night.

He said he is pain-free and felt good enough to have played Tuesday if the team didn’t decide to give him the extra day as a precaution after running him through early drills.

With 11 days left before the club breaks camp, he says he wants to play as much as possible to get ready for what he hopes will be a 162-game season for himself.

“I feel really good at the plate,” he said. “I don’t feel really good yet defensively.”

Castro, who committed two fielding miscues in one inning in that game Thursday night, said he “lost a little bit of my confidence” in that stretch that led into the unwanted down time.

“[Tuesday] I took a couple extra ground balls and started feeling better,” he said. “It’s just about time. I’ll take [more] early work and have my feeling right away. It’s not a big deal.”

The big deal is getting the season started, he said.

“We don’t have bleachers, but it doesn’t matter,” Castro said. “We feel very good [about] starting the new season, with new people here, and I think it’s going to be really exciting.”

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