3/16 Garza ready to go

Matt Garza has seen the television commercial in which the Cubs appear to win the World Series but in the end, it’s just a sad fan watching a video game.

“PlayStation made fun of us the other day with their commercial and the Cubs fan crying but there’s special stuff going on in here, man,” Garza said. “You never know. This stuff could be reality pretty soon. I’ve got a pretty good feeling. I can’t wait to get this thing kicked off and get going.”

The Cubs right-hander tuned up Friday with four innings against the Giants. He gave up two runs on three hits over four innings, a much improved outing from his previous two. Garza had relied solely on his fastball and changeup in his previous outing but on Friday, used all of his pitches.

“I know when April 5 comes I’ll be ready,” he said. “It’s one step at a time. Get everything right, get everything in sync. The hardest part of the game is getting back in a rhythm so that’s what I’m trying to do.”

The right-hander, now in his second season with the Cubs, also has been proactive with the other pitchers on the team. Travis Wood, for example, is struggling and Garza said he had a chat with the lefty.

“I tell him, ‘Hey, get this [stuff] out now,'” Garza said. “I said we all do it, we’e all had it. Try to slow things down for yourself and not speed it up. I was alwyas like that and I’ve been like that. I get on some of these young guys when they’re sitting on the bench to get up on the fence. I asked [Jeff] Beliveau the other day. I think it was [Norichika] Aoki from the Brewers. I said, ‘Do you know Aoki?’ He said not really. I said, ‘What are you sitting back here for?’ I said, ‘If you get up here, this is who you’re facing, a lefty.’ I said, ‘You get up there and you focus on how you’re going to help us.’

“It’s all fun and games and I like having a good time but there’s stuff you can still get done,” he said. “Guys are learning, guys are picking stuff up. It’s exciting to see guys who want to be here. It’s like a race to see who gets [to the clubhouse] here first.”

Garza also has developed a unique relationship with manager Dale Sveum. After one outing, Garza joked that he wanted to run in his tank top. Sveum apparently can tolerate only so much of the talkative pitcher.

“Yesterday he said, ‘Do you know these guys?'” Garza said of the Cubs game against the Diamondbacks. “I said, I know them pretty well.’ He said, ‘Well, you can leave now because I can’t take another five innings.'”

— Carrie Muskat

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