MLB news roundup: Starlin Castro, Josh Donaldson, Shane Victorino, more

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

News and notes from around baseball on Saturday.

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Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro is expected to resume baseball activities early next week after being hampered by a sore hamstring, reports Carrie Muskat of

Castro suffered the injury sliding into second base during a spring training game, but has been doing rehabilitation exercises in an effort to get back on the field as soon as possible. However, he has not been able to do much in terms of running except in a hydrotherapy pool.

The Cubs are likely looking for a bounce-back year from the 23-year-old Castro. After earning recognition as one of the top up-and-comers in baseball with nice seasons in 2010 and 2011, he hit for just a .245/.284/.347 line in 2013, the worst year of his young career.

However, he is still very young and could well come back with his strongest season yet in 2014. Recovering from his hamstring injury and getting back on the field will facilitate that.

Donaldson renewed

The Oakland Athletics have renewed third baseman Josh Donaldson's contract at the $500,000 minimum for 2014, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

The Athletics originally offered Donaldson a little over the minimum, but after he turned it down they went back to $500,000. As a pre-arbitration player, Donaldson has very little say over what he will earn season-to-season and is required to either sign the contract offered him or not play. Often, teams will give their pre-arb players slightly more each year.

Donaldson, 28, finished fourth in the AL MVP race in 2013 after his first full season. Over 158 games, he hit .301/.384/.499 with 24 home runs.

Donaldson will see a big jump in his paycheck after the upcoming season, when he is first eligible for arbitration. He will not be a free agent until after the 2018 season, when he will be entering his age-33 season.

Victorino may give up switch hitting

When Boston Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino finally gets back into game action this spring, he may do so purely as a right-handed hitter, reports Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.

Victorino, 33, has been a switch hitter his entire career, but hit almost entirely right-handed from August on in 2013 after a hamstring injury hurt his ability to hit lefty. He hit exceedingly well over those few months, batting .300 with an .896 OPS against right-handed pitchers, against whom he would typically have batted left-handed.

He has reportedly only been practicing his batting in a right-handed stance this spring, but refuses to say whether he will stick on one side of the plate moving forward.

Over his career, Victorino has hit .268/.329/.401 as a left-handed batter. Hitting righty, he has an .879 OPS against southpaw pitchers and a .748 OPS against fellow right-handers.

Hamilton back soon

Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia says outfielder Josh Hamilton will be back in spring games within a week, reports Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.

Hamilton, 32, has been suffering from a sore calf and has yet to see game action in spring. However, he is reportedly progressing well and has been working on a treadmill recently.

The Angels will probably be hoping for a better year from Hamilton this season after a disastrous 2013 campaign that saw him hit just .250/.307/.432 with 21 home runs in 151 games. That was just his first season with the Angels after signing a five-year deal worth $133 million.

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