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Castro back for spring finale, Cubs beat D'backs

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 29, 2014 at 9:05 pm •  Published: March 29, 2014
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PHOENIX (AP) — Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro returned from a hamstring injury Saturday and played his first spring training game since March 2 in Chicago's 9-8 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Castro went 0 for 2 with a walk and looked fine running out a grounder in the first inning. The game was the exhibition finale for both clubs before their season openers Monday.

Both starting pitchers were effective. Jason Hammel shut out the Diamondbacks on two hits over four innings. He struck out five.

Bronson Arroyo went 4 2-3 innings for Arizona and allowed two runs on six hits. He struck out two and walked one.

"A real good day for him," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "His location was pretty good, his fastball, he moved it around."

A throwing error by Diamondbacks left fielder Mark Trumbo led to an RBI single from Darwin Barney in the second. The Cubs then scored four runs in the sixth against setup man Brad Ziegler. Luis Valbuena had a sacrifice fly and minor leaguer Arismendy Alcantara hit a two-run homer.

Ziegler allowed four runs on three hits and two walks in one-third of an inning.

Cliff Pennington and Henry Blanco hit RBI singles in the sixth off Cubs reliever Jonathan Sanchez.

Ryan Kalish ended a successful bid to make Chicago's roster with a 3-for-3 afternoon.

Pennington had two hits and two RBIs after replacing Aaron Hill at second base. Ex-Cub Tony Campana, who made Arizona's opening day roster, went 3 for 3 and scored twice.

STARTING TIME

Cubs: Hammel said his arm felt strong and he was able to get his pitches down in the zone and establish fastball command.

"I was battling some bad habits there the first few starts and still getting arm strength," he said. "Spring training is not about results, it's about getting ready for the season."

Diamondbacks: Arroyo looked strong enough for the team to schedule him to start the opening-series finale against San Francisco on Thursday. He dealt with a back injury earlier this spring.

DECISIONS, DECISIONS

Chris Owings, who drove in a run with a seventh-inning single and scored twice, found out he made the opening day roster from Gibson during the game.

Owings beat out Didi Gregorius for the starting shortstop job, and Gregorius will go to Triple-A Reno. Arizona general manager Kevin Towers said he agonized over the decision.

"We probably viewed (Owings') bat a little bit ahead of Didi at this point in time, and because of the injuries we've had to our pitching staff, we're going to have to score runs to win games," Towers said.

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