Garza pushing to return this season

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Garza pushing to return this season

Matt Garza compared pitching to breathing on his Twitter account, so theres no doubt that hes going to push to return this season, even with his team so far out of contention.

But the Cubs are going to be cautious with Garza, whos sidelined indefinitely with a stress reaction in the back of his right elbow.

It sucks, man, theyre not letting me throw a ball, Garza said Thursday at Wrigley Field. Its not fun to come here and sit down. Yeah, I get to work out and ride a bike and watch a ballgame. But its still not what I like doing. I like being out there taking control of my game and being able to do what I get paid to do.

Garza almost guaranteed that hed return to the rotation after cutting loose during a bullpen session at Dodger Stadium last weekend. But he still felt stiff and further tests in Chicago convinced the Cubs to shut him down.

I just feel out of it, Garza said. I dont like not playing. Im not here to just watch. This is the toughest thing for me to face, not being able to do anything, like holding back from going out there and wanting to throw. Thats why I fought so long with them.

They just said theyve had enough and lets see what else is in there. Its nothing bad. Its just the doc said a little rest and (lets) just get it over with.

As a comparison, the Cubs have used reliever Blake Parker, who went on the disabled list with a similar injury on June 6 and just began his minor-league rehab assignment this week.

Garza last pitched on July 21 in St. Louis, which effectively killed his trade market before the deadline. General manager Jed Hoyer said Garza will likely be a Cub in 2013, the final year of club control after contract extension talks earlier this season gained no momentum.

Garza proving hes healthy again this season would appear to help his state of mind, and give the Cubs something to think about over the winter.

If somebody keeps wanting me to play, Im all for it, Garza said. Im not looking ahead to anything. Im just trying to get to where I can get back on the field and start playing. Hopefully, its soon, sooner than later, and Im going to be working my tail off to get it that way.

As questions about his future remain, David Accam is in his best run with the Fire

As questions about his future remain, David Accam is in his best run with the Fire

For the past two seasons, David Accam was a bright spot on bad Chicago Fire teams.

This season, with more talent on the roster, Accam has blossomed into one of the most dangerous players in the league.

He had a hat trick and an assist in Saturday’s 4-0 win against Orlando. That gives him 10 goals and six assists on the season. Only two other players in Major League Soccer have 16 combined goals and assists, New York City FC's David Villa and teammate Nemanja Nikolic (the leading goal-scorer in the league).

“I thought I could do anything on the pitch today,” Accam said. “I just wanted to enjoy myself and entertain the fans and also help the team win. That’s what we did today, especially after my first goal. I just thought I could get more goals and also help the team win.”

Accam’s big game comes after he sat out the previous two games, which were both played on turf. He wasn’t listed on the injury report, but coach Veljko Paunovic said, “he didn’t recover from the physical issues that he had in the previous game.”

The rest seemed to do Accam some good, but his success in the game (as well as his recent run of eight goals and four assists in his last eight matches) coincides with questions about his future. He was recently rumored to be the target of a Turkish club.

In the past, Accam has spoken about his ambition to play at the highest levels. Typically, that means Europe. General manager Nelson Rodriguez said last month that he expects offers to come in for the 26-year-old because he is a good player in his prime ages.

So is Accam playing like someone trying to earn a new contract? That could be either impressing potential suitors in Europe or boosting his negotiation position with the Fire. Rodriguez has talked about contract negotiations with Accam before, and said those will not resume again until after the season.

“I wanted to be in a team where I would develop as a person and also win trophies, whether here or somewhere (else) I don’t know,” Accam said. “For me, I’m doing really well here and every year if I keep playing well there will be always interest. I know there is a lot of interest because I’m doing well. For me it’s always extra motivation to keep doing well. You don’t know where I will end up, whether here or somewhere else. I’ll just keep playing.”

Accam’s play earned him another call-up to the Ghanaian national team. He will join the team on Sunday for a pair of friendlies in the U.S. The Black Stars will take on Mexico in Houston on June 28 and the U.S. in East Hartford, Conn., on July 1 as the two North American countries prepare for the Gold Cup.

“That’s where I want to be,” Accam said. “I want to be playing for the national team so it’s extra motivation for me to perform well and also to go to the national team.”

Accam has been one of the most productive players in MLS this year, based on goals and assists, and is young enough to draw the attention of plenty of teams. For now, the Fire have him as a key part of the best season the club has had in years.

“I think that he understands very well how to play with the team that we have now and with the teammates that he is surrounded with,” coach Veljko Paunovic said. “We just have to work to give David opportunities… Then we expect that performances like that will come even more.”

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