Cubs: Garza gearing up for next start

Cubs: Garza gearing up for next start
April 26, 2013, 7:00 pm
Share This Post

MIAMI – Matt Garza fired back at the doubters on Twitter, calling out the “fake” Cubs fans “who do nothing but talk smack!”

Garza must have been feeling pretty good after throwing on Friday with Double-A Tennessee, getting through the “dead arm” pitchers typically experience during spring training and announcing his first rehab start with the affiliate. 

“Had a tiny setback but everything is all good! 5/1 is my day!” Garza tweeted.

That would be one week after the Cubs scratched Garza from his initial start at Tennessee, raising questions about the 29-year-old right-hander’s health. Club officials insisted that this was a normal response – and not connected to the elbow injuries that wiped out parts of his past two seasons.

Manager Dale Sveum reported Garza felt “no tightness, no soreness” and will throw again on Saturday from flat ground. Sveum said he hasn’t been part of any conversations about moving Garza to the 60-day disabled list. 

Garza – who strained a lat muscle on his left side during the team’s first full-squad workout in February – will need at least three starts in the minors, possibly four, depending on how he feels.

As teammate Jeff Samardzija observed: “You know it’s killing him to not be a part of this.” That might begin to explain the stream of consciousness Twitter feed.

The Cubs entered Friday with their starting pitchers limiting opponents to a .209 batting average and a .618 OPS, the lowest marks in the majors this season. Their 3.04 ERA through 21 games ranked third in the National League. 

Garza is a loud personality, someone whose energy and presence could be a big lift if he returns in mid-to-late May and changes the momentum.

“You get one of the better pitchers in the National League back (in a) rotation that’s already throwing the heck out of the ball,” Sveum said. “When you have guys with (potential) no-hitter type stuff going out there, it’s a different story when you’re playing defense (or if) you’ve lost two in a row. 

“You’re like: ‘Whoa, OK, we’re still looking pretty good tonight with this guy on the mound.’ That’s kind of the whole snowball effect of having really quality starting pitching.”