CTL on Garza, Samardzija & Cubs' rotation
MESA, Ariz. – The Cubs are locking Matt Garza in the cage again.
An MRI revealed a mild strain essentially where the lat and oblique muscles meet, general manager Jed Hoyer said Tuesday, an injury that will sideline Garza for about a week. The Cubs will wait until his left side is pain-free before clearing him to ramp up his throwing program again.
“It’s safe to say it pushes back his first Cactus League start,” Hoyer said. “What it means for the regular season, it’s clearly much too early to say. But we felt like it was really good news.”
The Cubs were already on alert monitoring the stress reaction in Garza’s right elbow. As their trade-deadline plans were beginning to come into focus last summer, he felt something on July 21 and walked off the mound at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. He didn’t throw another pitch the rest of the season.
Garza felt something else on Sunday at Fitch Park and ended his live batting practice session after 20 pitches. The Cubs have enough rotation depth – even with Scott Baker possibly opening the season on the disabled list as he recovers from Tommy John surgery – that they aren’t going to rush their most valuable trade chip.
Garza – who will make $10.25 million in his walk year – has something to prove. Team officials noticed the way he transformed his body, getting stronger and more flexible.
“Certainly, his arm is in great shape,” Hoyer said. “This guy worked his butt off this winter. I think he was sort of like a caged animal. He couldn’t do a lot for a long time and really once he got a chance to work out fully – he looks fantastic right now. So certainly this has nothing to do with how he came into camp. I believe him when he says he came in (here) in his best shape.”