PITTSBURGH Time is running out if the Cubs want to cash in Matt Garza for prospects before the trade deadline.
Garza always says he doesnt care about the rumors, and has downplayed a potential elbow issue. This was his immediate focus: Leaving Pittsburgh on Tuesday and returning to Chicago to be with his pregnant wife and await the birth of their child.
Garza will be re-evaluated on Friday, almost a week after exiting his last start in St. Louis with a cramping feeling in his right triceps. The Cubs have pretty much ruled out starting him this weekend against the Cardinals.
That would only leave July 30 against the Pirates as a possible showcase start. The trade deadline will come at 3 p.m. on July 31 in Chicago, where the Cubs will have a night game at Wrigley Field.
Assistant general manager Randy Bush said hes very optimistic that Garza wont have to go on the disabled list: Everythings looking good with him.
The feeling was that if the Cubs were going to trade Garza, it would be right near the deadline, when an aggressive or desperate executive finally decided to meet their demands.
Otherwise, Garza is still under club control through 2013. Team president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer could reopen talks this winter.
Even with the Garza question mark hanging over the rotation, and Ryan Dempster weighing where hed approve a trade, manager Dale Sveum minimized the risk of injury.
Dempster is still planning to start on Wednesday at PNC Park, in what could be his final game in a Cubs uniform.
Any time somebody steps on a field, I guess, somebody could get hurt, Sveum said. But theres nothing you can do about it. Right now, hes a Chicago Cub and hes pitching tomorrow and were gonna do everything we can to win tomorrows game. Thats whats going on now in the Chicago Cubs world.
Theres a lot more going on behind the scenes. The Cubs can only hope that Dempster who has already been on the disabled list twice this season makes it through without any issues.
You still dont just hold people out when nothings happening, Sveum said. If it was a position player, would you hold him out for a week, because his names mentioned and things are in the works? You just dont do those things.
You dont start taking people out of lineups and missing starts because of rumors or because their names mentioned.
The Dempster negotiations have clearly reached a more advanced stage. Check back Wednesday morning to see if the plans have changed.
You dont take him out of the rotation until it happens, Sveum said. Until Theo calls me and tells me that something happened, you dont change anything.