The window is closing on Garza

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The window is closing on Garza

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.

Fast Break Morning Update: Scott Darling leads Blackhawks to win over Blues

Fast Break Morning Update: Scott Darling leads Blackhawks to win over Blues

Here are the top Chicago sports stories from Sunday:

Scott Darling shines in fill-in duty as Blackhawks break late tie to best rival Blues

White Sox pitchers headed for World Baseball Classic look sharp in win over Rockies

What if… Cubs GM Jed Hoyer’s takeaways from epic World Series Game 7

Quick hits: Blackhawks start strong in win over Blues

Illini keep NCAA tournament hopes afloat with dominant win over Nebraska

White Sox: Happy with progress, Brett Lawrie tries to clear final hurdles

How Indians regrouped and reloaded after losing unforgettable Game 7 to Cubs

Jim Thome: Getting into baseball Hall of Fame would be indescribable

Kurt Busch steals a monster of a win in Daytona 500

Michigan State gets big win to boost tourney hopes, while Wisconsin loses for fourth time in five games

 

 

 

Scott Darling shines in fill-in duty as Blackhawks break late tie to best rival Blues

Scott Darling shines in fill-in duty as Blackhawks break late tie to best rival Blues

Scott Darling found out at 8 a.m. Sunday that he was starting for an ailing Corey Crawford. Considering he did this back in December for a few weeks, adjusting quick for one game was fine.

"It's kind of my job," Darling said.

And Darling, once again, did his job.

Darling stopped 30 of 32 shots and Patrick Kane scored his 24th goal of the season as the Blackhawks beat the St. Louis Blues 4-2 on Sunday night. The Blackhawks have won nine of their last 10 games. They're one point behind the Minnesota Wild, who made their splashy trade-deadline move in acquiring Martin Hanzal on Sunday. But the Blackhawks, thanks to veterans regaining their form, a top line finding its rhythm and youth consistently improving, are just rolling right along.

"We had a great start to the game. I thought Darls was excellent all night, great stretch there in the last 10 minutes where we fight through some tough shifts, particularly in the last couple of minutes in our end. But good win," coach Joel Quenneville said. "You look at the nice plays on the goals, it was kind of a comparable ending to the outdoor game: tied and about the same time they scored, we scored (tonight). Big two points for us."

Jonathan Toews scored his 16th of the season and Artem Anisimov scored the game-winning goal with 5:20 remaining in regulation. Tanner Kero added an empty-net goal with 2.6 seconds remaining in the game.

The Blackhawks already knew they'd be without Niklas Hjalmarsson (upper body) for at least a day or two when they found out Crawford couldn't go this morning. As Quenneville said Darling was strong once again, denying the Blues all but twice (a 2-on-1 goal from Magnus Paajarvi and a power-play goal from Alex Pietrangelo).

Toews and Kane (power-play goal) staked the Blackhawks to a 2-0 lead early before the Blues tied it in the second. But late in the third period Anisimov took the feed from Artemi Panarin to give the Blackhawks a 3-2 lead.

"I saw the puck all the way. It was easy to pick up," Anisimov said. "When you don't see the puck at the last moment and it comes, it's hard to receive and prepare for the next move. But I saw it all the way. Easy to prepare for the next move."

Speaking of next moves, do the Blackhawks make any more before the trade deadline. General manager Stan Bowman said on Friday, following the acquisition of Tomas Jurco, that he'll keep talking and listening but likes the group he has right now. If Bowman's made moves it's for what the Blackhawks have needed, not because of another team's trades. The Blackhawks like what they have right now. Winning nine of 10 and continuing to trend in the right direction, they should be careful not to disrupt what they've got going.

"I think we're, as we've said lately, trending the right way. We're playing solid. I think all four lines are contributing in every which way," Toews said. "I love our group right now. Everyone is getting better individually, contributing more and more and it's a lot of fun to see the way we're playing right now. We know that the ceiling is way higher and we can keep getting better too."